A Mekong River conservation area head ranger told The Post on Tuesday that a fifth Irrawaddy dolphin has been found dead due to illegal fishing.
The adult male, weighing some 104kg and 1.98m long, was discovered floating on its back by river wardens on Sunday in Kakot village, in Kratie province’s Chitr Borei district.
Mok Punlok, the head warden at the Anlong Kampi Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area, told The Post that illegal fishing still occurred in Mekong River protected zones despite increased prevention measures and crackdowns, as well as greater public awareness from specialists and local authorities.
He said his team found the dolphin dead with its flipper entangled in fishing nets in Sambok commune’s Kakot village on Sunday.
“We are sorry to announce that an adult male Irrawaddy dolphin has been found dead. This is the fifth dolphin found dead this year from January until Tuesday,” he said.
The animal’s carcass was taken by WWF-Cambodia to its Kratie provincial office for study, he added.
WWF-Cambodia on Monday evening expressed its condolences over the loss of the dolphin and called for a halt to all illegal fishing activities in protected areas.
“The illegal use of fishing nets in conservation areas is the main cause of death for the Mekong dolphins.
“We urge people not to carry out illegal fishing activities in conservation areas to protect this national living treasure for our country and future generations,” WWF-Cambodia said.
A WWF-Cambodia report said there were 92 Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia last year. They lived between the Anlong Kampi zone in Kratie and the Cambodia-Laos border in Stung Treng province, and that nine Irrawaddy dolphins had been born during the period.
Sambok commune chief Tuy Sovanna told The Post on Tuesday that river wardens working with local authorities patrolling the river over the weekend as part of a crackdown on illegal fishing destroyed some 300m of nets.