April 4, 2009

Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins in Bangladesh

Anything that relates to Bangladesh catches my eye these days....and the latest update from James and Jess can be found at http://jamesandjess.synthasite.com/news/joypara
James has been ill... but appears to be recovering. 

Anyway, I thought this was a nice story... probably because I like dolphins... (and you can see more of our annual visits to swim with the New Zealand Dusky Dolphins in Kaikoura here and here , if you are a new reader...)
"Nearly 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, which are related to orcas or killer whales, were found living in freshwater regions of Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest and the adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal."
They are an unusual looking dolphin - the blunt nose and smaller fins. They grow to up to eight feet in length and frequent large rivers, estuaries, and freshwater lagoons in south and southeast Asia, but they are related to killer whales, or Orcas, so I checked it out. Interesting size variations.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orca


This made me think about Dolphins and Orcas - so I checked out Wikipaedia...

For comparison, here is a Dusky Dolphin... the one we usually see in Kaikoura.
And here we have the best known dolphin, the Bottle-nose - most commonly seen in movies, better known as "Flipper".

Finally, the delightful and surprisingly small, Hector's Dolphin which is only found off the coast of New Zealand and is, apparently, the rarest dolphin in the world 

"An adult Hector’s dolphin grows to a length of 1.2 to 1.4 metres, compared with 4 metres for the bottlenose and the Dusky dolphins 2 metres.An Orca is 6-8 m long, and can weigh 6 tonnes!"
 Bangladesh is hugely at risk as they have rising sea levels caused by climate change which are threatening this species of freshwater Irriwaddy dolphins. It is not doing much for the people either.

"Bangladesh, the most crowded nation on earth, is set to disappear under the waves by the end of this century – and we will be to blame. Johann Hari took a journey to see for himself how western profligacy and indifference have sealed the fate of 150 million people. He went to see for himself the spreading misery and destruction as the ocean reclaims the land on which so many millions depend."
"The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – whose predictions have consistently turned out to be underestimates – said that Bangladesh is on course to lose 17 per cent of its land and 30 per cent of its food production by 2050. For America, this would be equivalent to California and New York State drowning, and the entire mid-West turning salty and barren. "

A picture of the huge delta region - satellite image.

Read more here... a good geography site with lots more information.

or here -Waterworld... 
A very interesting article on the impact on the people. And again here
A quote taken from there:
"one thing is certain: Bangladesh is the most likely spot on the planet for one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in history. The country’s future, however, and the fate of its impoverished millions, will be determined not necessarily by rising sea levels, but by their interaction with, among other things, the growth of religious fundamentalism, the behavior of its neighbors and other outside powers, and the evolution of democracy. So, I came to Bangladesh."

Kind of puts things in perspective!!


  1. i have seen images of Bangladesh from a friend i have there. it is a beautiful country with so much natural beauty.
    it is sad that the people there had suffer so much poverty...
    anyway, we don't have dolphins here in our shores but we are proud of our butandings. the gentle sea giant had become a tourist attraction as they like to swim along side people. our goverment Fi, had set up programs to protect our marine wildlife hence now they are thriving.

  2. Great post on Bangladesh, Mum :) I was just catching up on your posts! I'm not doing a great job of keeping on top of my RSS feeds - keep getting sick! I was surprised to read about Scott's teeth. Poor man. Hope he's pain-free now. Hope you are well too. Miss you, and thinking of you both.

  3. Yes, that does put things in perspective doesn't it? Thoughtful post that made me think

  4. Wow, how ignorant am I? I honestly though there was only the flipper variety of dolphin! Thanks for educating me...
    Tracey xxx

  5. I must look up "butandings" - never heard of them Odette! Glad they are protected:)

    Thats ok Jimmy - just glad you are feeling better now. Miss you both too - xx

    Thank you Pouty Lips and Tracey :)


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin