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Critical dolphin and porpoise habitat in the Sundarbans and Swatch of No-Ground of Bangladesh

March 28, 2010

Critical  habitat for six species of dolphin and a species of porpoise has been found in the coastal rivers of the world’s biggest mangrove, the Sundarbans, and the Swatch of No-Ground, a deep canyon range that snakes its way north south the length of  the Bay of Bengal.

Climate change is having a profound effect on the Sundarbans of Bangladesh, now understood to be one of the most important sanctuaries for tropical dolphins. As sea levels in the Bay of Bengal rise with global warming, critical wildlife habitat in the adjacent mangrove forests has shrunk.

A joint survey, led by wildlife expert Brian D Smith, conducted by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP).

Jahangir Alam, BCDP coordinator and researcher, told the Associated Press of Pakistan that they found 225 Ganges River dolphins, 6,000 Irrawady dolphins, over 1,000 bottlenose dolphins, about 1,400 finless porpoises, and significant number of Indo-pacific humpbacked dolphins, pan-tropical spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins in the Sundarbans and adjacent water bodies and swatch no-ground areas.

I have known of this work developing for years, and it is heartening to see that such strong results are coming forward now.

Well done to Brian, Jahangir and the WCS and BCDP teams!

Margi Prideaux

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