Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report citing pollutants' threat to dolphins draws furious govt rebuke



Report citing pollutants' threat to dolphins draws furious govt rebuke

Report citing pollutants' threat to dolphins draws furious govt rebuke

090619_04.jpg
090619_04.jpg

Photo by: AFP

A new report asserts that pollution has pushed the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins ''to the brink of extinction''.

A NEW report that pollution in the Mekong River was in part responsible for the deaths of 88 Irrawaddy dolphins since 2003 prompted a harsh rebuttal from a government official, who on Thursday dismissed the findings as "all lies".

The report, released Thursday by the international conservation group WWF, found that pollution in the Mekong River had pushed local Irrawaddy dolphins "to the brink of extinction".

It said 60 percent of the dead dolphins were calves under two weeks old that had died of a bacterial disease.

"This disease would not be fatal unless the dolphin's immune systems were suppressed, as they were in these cases, by environmental contaminants," said Dr Verne Dove, the author of the report and a veterinarian at WWF Cambodia, in a press release.

The reported said the population of the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin, which has been listed as a critically endangered species since 2004, totals between 64 and 76 members.

Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission to Conserve Mekong River Dolphins and Develop Eco-Tourism, said, however, that the report was false.

"What they said was all lies," he said. "It's big trouble - they [the WWF] should resign. They should leave Cambodia."

Touch Seang Tana said the dolphin population had increased between 2000 and 2007, a period during which, he said, 120 dolphins died and 160 were born.

He dismissed as incorrect the report's assertion that researchers had discovered "toxic levels" of pesticides and environmental contaminants while analysing the dead dolphin calves. The pollutants, the report said, "could pose a health risk to human populations living along the Mekong that consume the same fish and water as the dolphins".

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in