Slight Increase in Dolphin Numbers
Cambodia’s freshwater Mekong dolphin population has increased by four, adding a quartet of calves in the first five months of 2016 while also seeing a drop in the mortality rate compared with last year.
This was encouraging news for environmentalists in a region where increased dam construction has raised concerns over the dwindling numbers of dolphins.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Landscape Manager Horm Chandet praised the births as good news for Cambodia’s dolphin population, revealing the newly-born pups had been found in Stung Treng and Kratie before adding that three adult dolphins were found dead in the same period – one of which had been trapped in a net.
According to a WWF Cambodia report, there were more than 200 dolphins in the country in 1997. But by 2010 that number had fallen to 85 and now, only 80 dolphins are confirmed to remain.
However, Mr. Chandet said the mortality rate had improved, compared with nine dolphin deaths in the Kingdom last year – most from net related injuries – to only three in the first half of this year.
Experts have warned that the country’s freshwater dolphins could face annihilation if proper conservation efforts are not undertaken, especially in Stung Treng province bordering Laos, where the Don Sahong dam is now being built.
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