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Irrawaddy dolphin found dead

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The cause of the mammal’s death was determined as bruising to its gills caused by an illegal fishing net. Photo WWF Cambodia

Irrawaddy dolphin found dead

A critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin was found dead, floating along a stretch of the Mekong River in Kratie’s Chet Boreid district on Wednesday.

The cause of the mammal’s death was determined as bruising caused by an illegal fishing net.

The carcass was found in the Anlong Kampi area of the Mekong, where the freshwater dolphin primarily lives, according to the Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphin Conservation Guard.

Mok Punlok, the provincial deputy chief of the Fisheries Administration, told The Post on Thursday that the Irrawaddy dolphin was male, weighed about 92kg and measured 1.94 metres.

The conservation guard pulled the carcass from the river after receiving news of its death from villagers. It was taken to the provincial offices of WWF Cambodia.

‘We are very sad to hear of the dolphin’s death. When fishing out the carcass, we noticed net marks on the gills. Nets are one of the greatest risks for the survival of dolphins and a major obstacle to the work of rare dolphin conservationists in Cambodia,’ said Punlok.

A recent report from WWF Cambodia said that last year two Irrawaddy dolphins died, while seven calves were born. It estimates that only about 80 of the endangered mammals still exist.

An earlier version of this story said the dolphin suffered from injuries to its gills. Dolphins don't have gills.

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