A 180kg Irrawady dolphin in the Ochheuteal dolphin pleasance in Preah Rumkel commune of Stung Treng province’s Borei O’Svay Sen Chey district was found dead on June 14, most likely from natural age-related causes.
Anlong Svay village chief Sorn Pan – who is also the head of river guards – told The Post on June 15 that the carcass was 230cm long. A fisherman found it while casting his net in the evening of June 14.
“It died on June 12 in the evening, because in the morning of June 13 we could not find it. On June 14 it was found dead,” he said.
“The fisherman had cast his net that night and he found it and then reported it to the commune. Our guards went to inspect the scene,” he said, adding that veterinary specialists had performed an autopsy on the dolphin.
“This is very regretful. There were only two dolphins and now one is gone with just one remaining,” Pan said.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Cambodia) country director Seng Teak told The Post on June 15 that the dead dolphin was a female and there were no wounds or marks left on its body that would indicate foul play.
“Our team suspects that it may have died from aging. It was maybe 25 to 30 years of age and the dolphins live from 20 to 30 years on average,” he said.
He added that from at least 2017 onward there had been three dolphins in the Ochheuteal dolphin pleasance bordering Laos. Then in April 2021, a dolphin died. And now in June, another dolphin has died – meaning there is only one dolphin left there.
Teak continued that dolphins in the Ochheuteal pleasance upstream have never met with those in the Anlong Kampi pleasance downstream. So, it is concerning for the dolphin’s reproduction and survival.
Teak said that due to problems related to sedimentary deposits, the dolphins have all gradually been dying over time. Prior to 2007, he said, the Ochheuteal dolphin pleasance had at least 15 dolphins.