Officials are working to determine the exact cause of death of an Irrawaddy baby dolphin that was found dead at the Anlong Kampi conservation area in Sambok commune of Kratie province’s Chitr Borei district.
Anlong Kampi fishing community chief Thon Tharong told The Post that fishermen found the carcass, a male weighing just over 10kg, on August 7 and handed it over to officials for an autopsy by specialists from the Fisheries Administration (FiA).
FiA’s provincial cantonment director Mok Ponlok said officials were working with the national team and World Wide Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF Cambodia) to determine the exact cause of death.
Ouk Vibol, director of the FiA’s Department of Fisheries Conservation, said the autopsy indicated that the dolphin had died due to electric shock.
“Our autopsy discovered bruising and blood clots in the heart of the dolphin. Our early conclusion is that these are consistent with an electric shock,” he told The Post.
According to Vibol, the baby dolphin was just over three weeks old. Officials had yet to observe it before its death, so it was never recorded as part of the local population.
According to WWF Cambodia data, seven dolphins have died since January, four calves and three adults. Five newborns have been recorded.
Irrawaddy dolphins are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a “critically endangered” species.
The results of the 2020 census by the FiA and WWF Cambodia showed that there were only 89 Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Mekong River in Cambodia.
WWF Cambodia public affairs and information management director Tep Asnarith said fisheries crime still poses a serious threat to dolphin conservation.
“Only by ending fishing offences in these protected areas can we hope to increase the numbers of this endangered dolphin,” he added.