A senior government official has shared the heart warming news that another Irrawaddy dolphin calf has been sighted swimming with a pod of the rare mammals.
The calf is the seventh to be seen this year. While three dolphins have been found dead in the same period, the birth to death ratio has returned to positive, following a net negative growth of the population in the past two year.
Khim Finan, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, announced on September 2 that a conservation team from the Fisheries Administration and the World Wild Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF) spotted the young dolphin in Stung Treng province.
According to the ministry, 2021 saw just six births, with nine deaths, while in 2022 just six calves were born, with 11 dolphins passing away. Finan was pleased with this year’s figures.
“This is an excellent result when compared with 2021 and 2022. The reduced number of deaths is a clear indicator that our conservation efforts are having a positive result on the dolphin population,” he said.
WWF confirmed that they observed the latest calf swimming with a pod of eight adults on September 2 in the Tbong Khla deep pool in Siem Bok district’s O’Mreas commune of Stung Treng province. They estimated the young mammal was approximately 20 days old.
Research teams from the fisheries administration and the WWF observed the activities of the pod and photographed the calf swimming with its mother in the Mekong River.
“The presence of the new dolphin in the Mekong is an indication of healthy fisheries and healthy rivers, including biodiversity and natural ecosystems that provide life-support services for people. Together, let’s protect the Irrawaddy dolphin for nature and people’s well-being,” said a WWF statement.
According to the WWF, the Irrawaddy dolphin is considered one of the Kingdom’s living treasures and is one of just six species of freshwater dolphins that remain in the world.