The Kratie provincial administration and technical departments, the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cambodia and a private company will mark International Freshwater Dolphin Day for three days from Friday to Sunday in Kratie town.
International Freshwater Dolphin Day aims to promote the conservation of the Irrawaddy dolphin and achieve sustainable tourism.
Some 10,000 to 20,000 tourists are expected to take part in the celebrations, which start the day after the official International Freshwater Dolphin Day which is observed every year on October 24.
Kratie provincial Department of Tourism director Chuob Ratana told The Post on Wednesday that the event will be celebrated under the theme Increase Dolphins, Increase Tourists, Increase Standard of Living.
“The celebration will help residents of our town understand the work being done in dolphin conservation as there is still illegal fishing happening, especially using fishing nets, which affects this species of dolphin,” he said.
Ratana said International Freshwater Dolphin Day will be organised by the Kratie provincial administration with cooperation from the provincial departments of Tourism and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, WWF Cambodia and a private company.
The celebration will have a series of entertainment and conservation awareness programmes including a concert, a local products exhibition, running and cycling races, tree planting, camping, town cleaning, dolphin viewing and a painting contest.
“Along with the Freshwater Dolphin Day celebration, we will also draft a master development plan at Kampi Resort.
“We want to upgrade the standards of the resort to make it more attractive. There will be a section in the resort dedicated to exhibiting
information related to dolphin conservation and sustainable tourism,” Ratana said.
WWF Cambodia country director Seng Teak told The Post on Wednesday that the celebration would help to promote knowledge of conservation of the Irrawaddy Dolphin which is one of Cambodia’s national living heritages.
Teak said Freshwater Dolphin Day would also encourage locals living around the conservation area to stop all activities that are harmful to dolphins, especially the use of illegal fishing equipment.
“We have to raise awareness among locals who fish for a living. For example, we can encourage them to plant vegetables, raise animals and especially to increase the natural tourist areas.
“Locals who have a fishing business in the dolphin conservation area must stop their business activity,” said Teak.
The number of Irrawaddy Dolphins increased by 15 per cent between 2015 and 2017, from 80 to 92 dolphins.
In the first nine months of this year, WWF discovered its numbers had increased by 20, but nine dolphins have since died.
Teak said that next year, the Kratie and Stung Treng provincial administrations will conduct a census on the dolphins through WWF Cambodia’s dolphin conservation project.