Speakers at a webinar said the growth rate of dolphins is 55% at three sanctuaries in the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest – which is a milestone in the country's dolphin conservation.
The number of dolphins at the Dhangmari, Dudhmukhi and Chandpai sanctuaries has risen from 47 to 73 in the past two years, they added.
The data was revealed at the programme organised by the Forest Department marking International Freshwater Dolphin Day 2020 on Saturday.
The government has so-far declared nine dolphin sanctuaries in the country. The Dolphin Action Plan and the Atlas on Dolphin Expansion within the country have been prepared, speakers also said.
Referring to various initiatives taken to protect the endangered aquatic species, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said the number of dolphins in the Sundarbans is increasing at a significant rate due to the success of the government activities.
"If dolphins can be protected, it is also possible to save the river's environment. So, the government is working hard to protect the freshwater dolphins," he said.
Rakibul Amin, Country Representative of IUCN Bangladesh, said Bangladesh is in a very good condition despite dolphins being endangered globally. The country has one-third of the world's freshwater dolphins and 60% of the world's saltwater dolphins.
He said new sanctuaries need to be set up to increase the number of the Sundarbans dolphins and the aquatic species should be declared as national freshwater animals.
Jahangirnagar University Professor Md Abdul Aziz said if there are dolphins, fish and turtles will be saved. That is why dolphins need to be considered a flagship species.
Speakers at a programme said the number of dolphins in the River Halda has been determined and a management plan has been formulated. Additionally, community-based resource management plans have been formulated for the dolphin sanctuaries in the Sundarbans.
Dolphins are no longer available in many rivers because of poor navigability due to pollution and the construction of various dams. However, if there are dolphins in a river, the aquatic environment is kept healthy through the prevention of water pollution and of infection in fish, they added.