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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Earth House field trip to explore aquatic animals of Bay of Bengal

Learning about aquatic animal life of our own region comes into areas of learning i.e Science, animal habitat, and Bangladesh studies. On 12 March, Saturday 2016, 'Earth House Alternative School' planned a field trip to discover 'Bay of Bengal Aquatic animals'. This workshop was organized at 'Bays Galleria' at Red Shift Book Lounge, Radius Centre, Gulshan.

This event was organized to discover Bangladesh's ocean giants: Dolphins, whales, sharks, rays and marine turtles. The hour-long program was tailored towards children.


The event was open to all but most of the participants were foreigners.

Main workshop leader was Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur (Environmental Educator and Director Education and Livelihoods of the Wildlife Conservation Society Bangladesh) with her team members Farhana Akthar and Abdullah Al Masud. There were some English and Bangla books for sale about aquatic animals.

Cetaceans include all whales, dolphins and porpoise. They are marine mammals. Dolphins, whales and porpoises are among the largest and most intelligent animals living on our planet. They live in oceans all over the world. Some dolphins like the shushuk in Bangladesh live in large rivers. Some dolphins like the shushunk in Bangladesh occur only in large rivers. Bangladesh supports an extraordinary variety of cetaceans in a small area of mangrove forest, coastal and submarine canyon waters.

Why are some cetaceans threatened with extinction? 

Cetaceans face many threats from humans. Thousands of cetaceans die each year when they become entangled and drown in fishing nets. The widespread use of mosquito nets for catching shrimp fry has depleted populations of fish prey. Pollution from pesticides and industrial waste make cetaceans sick and reduce their resistance to disease. River dolphins are particularly endangered because people are draining the rivers where they live and dams have isolated groups from coming together to reproduce.
Scientists recognize Bangladesh as a global 'hotspot' for cetacean diversity and abundance. This means that the rivers and coastal waters of the country support numerous species and that their populations are generally more healthy compared to neighboring countries in Asia.

Why should we save cetaceans from extinction?
Our challenge is to protect these amazing animals from extinction.
Dolphins, whales and porpoises are fundamental to life in rivers and the sea. They are symbols of the need to take good care of aquatic resources that are essential for the survival of human communities. Humans have long been fascinated by cetaceans.

Audience 
Our KS2 students




Few words about Bay of Bengal:

The Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. Roughly triangular, it is bordered mostly by India and Sri Lanka to the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Myanmar (Burma) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east.

The Bay of Bengal is one of the World's 64 largest marine ecosystems.

What can we do to help dolphins, whales and porpoises?

  • Being well informed is the first step. 
  • By visiting their website and reading about dolphins, whales and porpoises you are already helping to save cetaceans. 
  • When decisions are made by your family and friends to take actions that might endanger cetaceans you have a responsibility to speak out for these animals. 
  • Tell others about what you know and ask them to join you in protecting cetaceans. These animals are part of the rich wildlife heritage of Bangladesh. Many dolphins die from entanglement in fishing nets and lines. 
  • Encourage fishermen not set 'current jahls' in areas where they see dolphins and to stay with their nets. If a dolphin gets caught its life can be saved by quickly pulling the animal to the surface and setting it free. The net may have to be cut. It can be repaired but a dead shushuk is gone forever.
  • If you find a live cetacean stranded on the beach get it back into the water as fast as possible. 
  • Make sure to keep the cetacean cool and wet. Do not touch, cover or splash water on its blowhole. 
  • A simple carrier can be made from a lunghi for transporting a dolphin or porpoise back to the water. 
  • Never attempt to catch a shushuk or keep it in a pond. It will not survive. Information from dead cetaceans is valuable to help others survive. 
  • If you find a dead cetacean make sure it does not wash away or get eaten by scavengers. 

Cetaceans are protected by law. It is illegal to catch these animals or to sell or buy the whole animal or any parts of it.
Reference: 'Share our smiles- Whales and dolphins of Bangladesh' by Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
You may get all information at following link:

* www.shushuk.org

http://www.wcs.org'Wildlife Conservation Society' saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.
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