The corpse of an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin pup was recovered yesterday along a Mekong riverbank in Kratie’s Prek Prasap district.
Mok Pon Lerk, deputy chief of the Provincial Fishery Administration, said local residents were surprised to find the 50-kilogram specimen, estimated to be 1 year old.
The World Wildlife Fund estimates a population of 80 individuals remain in the Kingdom.
“We do not know the reason why this dolphin [is] dead . . . The body looks swollen”, PonLerk said, adding that “the body [is being] kept to find out why the dolphin died”.
Sos Seng, the 40-year-old fisherman who found the remains, said he came across it while going about an ordinary day of fishing.
“We are sorry to see a newborn dolphin dead. We did not [want] to see it dead because it is a kind of conservation species in our country,” Seng said.
The latest population surveys by the WWF and WWF-Cambodia show that the Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin population decreased by five individuals from 2010 but that nevertheless the annual rate of population decline has slowed.
Last month, on the occasion of International Freshwater Dolphin Day, over 200 people gathered in Kratie to support the protection of the freshwater cetaceans and protest the Don Sahong dam, which experts warn could eradicate the iconic species from Cambodia.