Assessing human impacts on threatened freshwater cetaceans in Bangladesh

Emile Mahabub

Two threatened freshwater cetaceans, the Ganges River and Irrawaddy dolphins, remain sparsely distributed in sufficient numbers in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh for early conservation interventions to be effective for protecting both species. Assessing the magnitude and nature of human activities and ecological characteristics in freshwater dolphin hotspots will provide essential information to develop a management plan for a proposed protected area network for freshwater cetaceans that will incorporate the needs of local communities while minimizing destructive impacts. This will be accomplished through standardized interviews, direct observations of human activities and biological investigations conducted collaboratively with the Forest Department and other local stakeholders.