Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Conservation group discovers rare Irrawaddy dolphin calf



Conservation group discovers rare Irrawaddy dolphin calf

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The latest discovery of newborn Irrawaddy dolphin in the Mekong River in Kratie province last Thursday marks the sixth calf to be found this year, a provincial Fisheries Administration told The Post on Wednesday. WWF

Conservation group discovers rare Irrawaddy dolphin calf

A dolphin conservation group has revealed it recently found a newborn Irrawaddy dolphin swimming among adults in the Mekong River in Kratie province, the sixth calf to be discovered this year.

Mok Ponlok, provincial deputy director of the Fisheries Administration and head of the Irrawaddy dolphin conservation group, told The Post on Wednesday that his team encountered the calf, which was born around seven days previously, while patrolling the Mekong last Thursday.

The calf was swimming with five adult dolphins near Kampi village in Chitr Borei district’s Sambok commune.

“The new dolphin calf is the sixth to be recorded in 2019 from January to April,” he said.

The Irrawaddy dolphin nearly became extinct and is currently classified as endangered.

A recent joint study by national and provincial officials at the Fisheries Administration and WWF-Cambodia released this month found that the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Cambodia has increased from 80 to 92 over the past two years.

This is the first increase since records began in 1997.

A 1997 census found there were 200 Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong between Kratie and Stung Treng provinces near the Cambodian-Lao border. But the use of banned fishing practices led to a sharp decline in numbers and in 2015 a conservation group found only 80 left.

With a more than 10 per cent increase in the Mekong river population, a government specialist said important steps had been taken to reduce the death rate, which allowed Irrawaddy dolphins to live to maturity and bear calves.

Only two Irrawaddy dolphins died in 2017, seven less than in 2015 when nine were found dead.

Cooperation between local communities, river guards and relevant authorities meant more effective patrols and crackdowns on illegal fishing, which was reflected in the reduced death rate, Ponlok said.

In the last two years, over 358km of illegal fishing nets were confiscated in the Irrawaddy dolphin’s living zone – twice the length of its habitat.

The presence of the newborn calf represented a new milestone in joint efforts to conserve the Irrawaddy dolphin in Cambodia and reflected the cooperation in conservation between the Fisheries Administration and conservation partners such as WWF-Cambodia, local authorities and communities, Ponlok said.

He said there were 92 Irrawaddy dolphins currently living in the Mekong in Cambodia, with around 60 to 65 – including the new calves – in Kratie province alone.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration