Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Laos dam could threaten dolphin

Laos dam could threaten dolphin

While deaths of the Mekong River's critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin have been decreasing for years, government officials and conservationists warned yesterday that Laos’s controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam could hinder efforts to protect the species.

Phay Somany, an administration official at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Department, said the annual average number of deaths of the Mekong dolphin has dropped from 11 to six over the past four years.

“The latest death was caused by old age,” Somany said.

But, he added, in addition to threats including fishing and diseases, the construction of the 260-megawatt dam could put the species in jeopardy.

“We are worrying about effect of the Don Sahong dam construction. It is a new threat facing the dolphins and it is very controversial,” Somany said.

“When the construction takes place, the effect [on the dolphins] occurs when [builders] blow up the rocks. [The dam] will influence fish movement and lead to a loss of habitat through the irregular and unsustainable mud flow,” he added.

Somany’s comments came after around 200 villagers, government officials and activists from WWF gathered in Kratie province yesterday morning to mark International Freshwater Dolphin Day.

Chhit Sam Ath, country director of WWF-Cambodia, said the event was aimed at drawing attention to the dangers facing the Mekong dolphin.

“Dolphins are culturally, economically, and ecologically vital,” Sam Ath said.

Sam Ath said that while only 85 Mekong dolphins are estimated to be left in Kratie and Stung Treng’s parts of Mekong River, he explained that “education, promotion, legal implementation and conservation activities” were working.

So far this year, four dolphins have died, while seven calves have been born, he said.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

ACLEDA’s boss on how tech is changing financial services

In today’s world of fast-changing technology, Cambodia is seeing increasing innovation in financial services.

ACLEDA President In Channy on the key to the bank’s success

Post Khmer Editor-in-Chief Kay Kimsong sat down with Dr In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of ACLEDA Bank Plc, to explore the main principle guiding Cambodia’s biggest bank.

A taste of Phnom Penh's first container night market

At the launch of Phnom Penh's newest market, The Post spoke to customers and stallholders about what the hub of bars, food stalls, shops and live music will add to the city's nightlife.