25 dolphins have died in Halda River since September 2017
Yet another Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) was found dead in Halda River.
Confirming the matter, noted Halda researcher Prof Dr Manzoorul Kibria told Dhaka Tribune that a seven-feet-long dead dolphin was spotted at 11am on Sunday morning at Modunaghat point of Halda River.
“On information, we rushed to the river and took photos of the aquatic mammal. Later, we informed the concerned committee in this regard,” said Dr Kibria.
Asked about the reason of death, Dr Kibria said that the endangered mammal weighing 70-80 kg had no injury marks.
“However, some part of a fishing net was tied to the mouth of the dolphin. We assume that the dolphin got entangled in a fishing net used for catching brood fishes and died from asphyxiation,” added Dr Kibria, also the coordinator of the Halda River Research Laboratory.
“25 dolphins have died in Halda River since September 2017. It is an ominous signal for the conservation of dolphins in the Halda,” said Prof Kibria.
Previously on May 8, a dolphin was brutally killed, reportedly by locals in the Halda River.
With a long deep cut, the critically endangered mammal was recovered from Chayarchar area of Urkirchar Union under Raozan upazila of Chittagong.
The dolphin weighing 52kg had a gash from its neck to tail.
On Tuesday, the High Court formed a committee headed by the deputy commissioner of Chittagong to stop the killing of river dolphins and mother fishes as well as protect the biodiversity of the Halda River.
The bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan issued the order during a virtual hearing, when two reports on the matter were placed before it by the director-general of the Department of Environment and district commissioner of Chittagong, respectively.
The court also asked lawmakers, elected from areas near the banks of the Halda River, to act as advisers to the committee.
On March 21, a 6-feet long dolphin with injury marks was found dead at Ajmer Ghat area of Halda River under Raozan upazila in Chittagong.
The dolphin weighing 50kg presumably died after being hit by the propeller of an engine-run boat.
On December 5 last year, another dead dolphin with injury marks was recovered from Akbaria point of Halda River under Hathazari upazila.
On April 16 last year, a six-month-old dolphin with scars was also found floating at Madunaghat point of the river.
Species of dolphins in Bangladesh
Two types of dolphins are found in Bangladesh- Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica).
The official status of the river dolphins, locally known as Shushuk (Platanista gangetica) is “critically endangered” as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a universally recognized index of the world’s endangered animals.