A newborn Irrawaddy dolphin aged about two weeks was found swimming with a pod of five adults at Kampi Dolphin Pool on the Mekong River in central Kratie province’s Kampi village on December 31.

The calf was spotted by the joint team of personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Fisheries Administration (FiA), the Kratie and Stung Treng FiA cantonments, and wildlife conservation NGO World Wide Fund for Nature-Cambodia (WWF).

WWF said in a statement on January 6: “The year 2021 has ended with joyful news especially for the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin population and the Mekong River ecosystem as a new dolphin calf – the sixth calf for 2021 – was spotted on 31st December swimming at the Kampi pool in Kratie province.”

Kampi pool is located in Chitr Borei district’s northernmost commune of Sambok, and is reportedly the largest dolphin pool on the Mekong.

According to the NGO, dolphin births logged in 2021 dropped by three, from the nine recorded in 2020.

“The latest population census of this globally important freshwater mammal species estimated just 89 individuals still swim in the Mekong River.

“Stronger and more collective actions are needed to protect them from going extinct in the River. Furthermore, saving our free-flowing Mekong is critical now before it's too late,” WWF said.