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Dhaka Tribune

Environment minister offers rewards for information on dolphin killers

Seven dolphin conservation teams have been formed in the Sundarbans area, says the minister

Update : 14 Feb 2022, 12:43 PM

The government will reward people who provide information on the killers of freshwater dolphins, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Md Shahab Uddin said on Sunday. 

He made this announcement while attending a discussion organized by the Department of Forest (DoF) to commemorate International Freshwater Dolphin Day. 

“A group of people are deliberately killing dolphins to get dolphin oil. Those who will provide information to the forest department about these dolphin killers will be rewarded,” said the minister.

He said seven dolphin conservation teams have been formed in the Sundarbans area and more will be formed in other parts of the country soon. 

The government has also taken various other initiatives for the conservation of dolphins.

“We are training locals, including fishermen. We have already declared nine dolphin sanctuaries for conservation purposes,” he said, adding that a Dolphin Action Plan and Dolphin Atlas have been prepared to protect and monitor the marine mammals.

Deputy Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Begum Habibun Nahar, Environment Secretary Md Mostafa Kamal and Additional Secretary (Administration) Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Chairman Nature and Life Foundation Mukit spoke as special guests at the discussion chaired by Chief Conservator of Forest Amir Hossain Chowdhury.

According to Wildlife Conservation Society WCS data, there were 26 cetacean deaths in 2018, 12 in 2019, 32 in 2020 and 25 deaths in 2021 till September, while a total of 275 cetaceans were reported dead in the last 15 years.

The WCS said that Bangladesh has around 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, 2,300 bottlenose dolphins and 1,500 pink dolphins. There are 250 Ganges river dolphins or shushuks in the Sundarbans and 125 in the Karnaphuli River.

Chittagong University (CU) Halda River Research Laboratory has recorded the death of 30 dolphins in the Halda River alone since September 2016.

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