Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dim dolphin set free in Mekong

Dim dolphin set free in Mekong

Dim dolphin set free in Mekong

dim.jpg
dim.jpg

Conservationists prepare to lift the stranded dolphin from its sling.

AMekong dolphin that has been stuck for months in a tributary near Phnom Penh

after flood waters receded was set free March 13 with the help of NGO staff, government

officials, and local fishermen. Its companion was rescued from a nearby rice field

three months earlier.

"For some reason these two were a bit dim and didn't move back quickly enough,"

said Colin Poole, country program coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society

(WCS). "There's always a risk in moving animals, but it got to the point where

it was thin, so we didn't feel we could leave it much longer."

Department of Fisheries employee Phay Somany helps WCS as a project officer specializing

in water mammals. He said the team took great measures to ensure the safety of the

dolphin, catching it early in the day to protect it from the sun.

"It was not difficult to catch it, because we know the technique and the dolphin

was 100 percent good," he said.

To catch the dolphin, local fishermen beat the water with bamboo poles, and the noise

drove it into a shallow area. A bamboo enclosure corralled the dolphin, which was

then caught in a net and placed on a special sling. From there, the sling was carried

to the Mekong River.

"The first one [in December] was totally still and calm. It made a lot of dolphin

whistling noises," said Poole. "The second one thrashed around a bit."

But when released into the river, said Somany, both dolphins did much the same: "They

swam away around eight to ten meters, then they came to the surface. Then they dove

down and disappeared."

There are thought to be only 150 to 200 dolphins living in the Mekong, between the

Laos-Cambodian border and Kratie in the north-east. During the dry season they are

restricted to approximately a dozen deep water areas. Fishermen consider it bad karma

to catch or harm them.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth