Protection of Sundarbans needs for safeguarding the nature as it is not only an asset for Khulna but also for the country, said Mayor of Khulna City, Talukdar Abdul Khalek on Sunday.
“To protect the Sundarbans we need to conserve the all aquatic animals to keep the biodiversity alive,” he added.The city mayor made the remarks while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 10-day dolphin fair at Hadis Park in Khulna.
Marking the International Fresh Water Dolphin Day observed on October 24, UNDP in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and CNRS organised a nationwide campaign.
As a part of the campaign, the dolphin fair has been arranged in Khulna and around Sundarbans, while a three-day event was held in Dhaka earlier.
Arif Mohammad Faisal, Programme Specialist, UNDP, Raquibul Amin, Country Representative IUCN Bangladesh, ABM Sarwar Alam, Programme Coordinator, IUCN and Md Jahidul Kabir, Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle, Bangladesh Forest Department also spoke on the occasion, among others.
To protect the endangered mammals, the 10-day ‘Shushuk Mela’ (Dolphin Fair) was inaugurated and to be continued in and around Sundarbans till November 15, said a press release.
Sundarbans is home to Asia’s last two remaining freshwater dolphin species- globally Endangered Ganges River Dolphin and Irrawaddy Dolphin.Both these species are threatened with extinction due to over exploitation, unsustainable resource harvesting and livelihoods, poaching, industrial development, maritime traffic, and unplanned tourism.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Bangladesh Forest Department with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have initiated a project called “Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems (EPASIIAE)” in 2016.
The project was designed to engage community in conserving the aquatic animals and build the local capacity to reduce the pressure on water resources.
The project is also working to expand the operational coverage of dolphins and create alternative nature-based livelihood option for the fishermen.
The boat-based, interactive exhibition will travel to remote fishing villages for 10 days to gain support for aquatic wildlife, sustainable fisheries and climate change adaptation.
The fair will engage local people in respectful consultations on natural resource management.
Puppet show, bioscope, art and crafts exhibition etc were also arranged for the children.
Earlier a colorful rally was organised, where participants from the government, schools and development partners took place.