Fun learning experience for children on Freshwater Dolphin Day

October 27, 2018

Children of different ages and classes gathered together at the Liberation War Museum and experienced fun filled activities on dolphin conservation.

Children of different ages and classes gathered together at a three-day event, started on 24 October to mark the International Freshwater Dolphin Day at the Liberation War Museum and experienced fun filled activities on dolphin conservation.

The event was jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Bangladesh Forest Department with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

During the event more than thousands of children participated in painting competition, origami show and interactive session with the experts. There were also puppet show and cultural event to raise the awareness on dolphin conservation among the children. Besides that, photography exhibition and Bioscope display helped the children to visualize the aquatic animals.

Sharing his experience, Mominul Hasan (14), hailed from an underprivileged area in Dhaka said, “Before coming here, I had no idea about dolphin, now I know about this aquatic animal and why it’s important to save them.”

The three-day long event was inaugurated by the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud on 24 October and continued till 26 October.

Earlier, at the inaugural session speakers said that since Bangladesh was the home endangered Ganges River Dolphin and Irrawaddy Dolphin, the government should declare them as their national aquatic animals in order to protect them.

Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh said: “Royal Bengal Tiger represents flagship animal of Bangladesh on the land. Let’s choose the dolphin as the flagship animal of the country of the life under water— which is Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 14.”

Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Chief Guest of the inaugural session said he would place the issue before the cabinet to declare dolphin as the flagship aquatic animal of Bangladesh. He further said, “The government has been planning to conserve dolphins and increase their number.”

The event was a part of ‘Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems Projects (EPASIIAE) project’ implemented by UNDP in partnership with IUCN and Bangladesh Forest Department since June 2018 till December 2019. Under the project, six dolphin hotspots were identified across Bangladesh, covering an area of 571 square kilometers. A survey was also done to find out the major threats of dolphins and recommendations to protect them.

Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; as well as Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, the secretary of the ministry and Raquibul Amin, IUCN Bangladesh, Country Representative, also spoke at the event—chaired by Mohammed Shafiul Alam Chowdhury, the chief conservator of forest under the Forest Department.