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HC to probe body: What measures were taken to stop dolphin killing in Halda?

  • Published at 02:05 pm May 28th, 2020
Dolphins
File photo of a dolphin: WCS Bangladesh

On May 9, a Gangetic dolphin was brutally killed, reportedly by locals of the Halda river area

The High Court has ordered the submission of a report within 15 days about measures taken to stop the killing of dolphins in Halda river.

Justice Obaidul Hassan issued the order during a virtual hearing  on Thursday.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state during the hearing while writ petitioner Barrister Abdul Qaium represented himself.

The court also ordered information to be given to it about the details of the dolphin which was found dead on May 24. 

On May 24, a Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) was found dead in Halda River.

Noted Halda researcher Prof Dr Manzoorul Kibria told Dhaka Tribune that a seven-feet-long dead dolphin was spotted at the Modunaghat point of Halda.

“On information, we rushed to the river and took photos of the aquatic mammal. Later, we informed the concerned committee in this regard,” Dr Manzoorul said. 

Asked about the cause of death, the researcher said the endangered mammal weighing 70-80 kg had no injury marks.

“However, some parts of a fishing net were tied to the mouth of the dolphin. We assume that the dolphin got entangled in a fishing net used for catching broodfishes and died from asphyxiation,” Manzoorul, also the coordinator of the Halda River Research Laboratory, said.

“Since September 2017, 25 dolphins have died in Halda river. It is an ominous signal for the conservation of dolphins in Halda,” he further said. 

On May 19, the High Court ordered a committee to be formed, headed by Chittagong deputy commissioner to stop the killing of river dolphins and mother fish as well as protect the biodiversity of the Halda river.

The court also asked lawmakers elected from areas near the banks of the Halda river to act as advisers of the committee.

In the order, the High Court asked the DC to include representatives from the superintendent of police, naval police, coast guard, DoE, fisheries, Water Development Board and forest offices in Chittagong, upazila nirbahi officers and upazila chairman of the banks of the river and representatives from the Marine Science and Fisheries Faculty of the Chittagong University, two representatives from NGOs and two Halda river researchers selected by the DC in the committee.

On May 11, Barrister Abdul Qaium filed a writ seeking the High Court’s directives on the authorities concerned of the government to save fish and dolphins in the river.

On May 9, a Gangetic dolphin weighing 52kg was brutally killed, reportedly by locals of the Halda river area.

With a long deep cut, the critically endangered mammal was recovered from Chayarchar area of Urkirchar union under Raozan upazila, Chittagong.