The Ministry of Environment is currently considering putting Prek Kampi on a tentative list to send to UNESCO, to potentially become a Natural World Heritage Site.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Neth Pheaktra, said yesterday: “The ministry is studying the site to prepare a report for UNESCO. Prek Kampi is home to the most dolphins in Cambodia, and in 2017 we had 92 in total.”
Pheaktra also said the ministry is working hard to study more of the site, to create a detailed report to submit to UNESCO.
He said: “If the request is accepted, Cambodia will have a new heritage tourist site which will boost the country’s tourism industry.”
“The dolphins are very rare and are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list,” he added.
He also stated the importance of Lbak Khoan, as it is where many freshwater dolphins live.
“The dolphin conservation area, Lbak Khoan, on the border between Cambodia and Laos, is an important habitat for freshwater dolphins,” he added.
According to the ministry’s report on Irrawaddy dolphins, they are one of the 58 aquatic species that is protected under a government sub-decree of August 12, 2009.
According to the summary report, between 2015 and 2017, 12 new dolphins were discovered, making the total 92 in 2017.
The report says the conservation of Mekong dolphins remains a major challenge as there are many threats, including fishing nets in their habitats, the use of dams, and the impact of hydroelectric dams on the upstream areas.
It says a total of 72 guards are permanently stationed at 16 checkpoints, 11 of which are located along the Mekong River in Kratie province and five on the Mekong River in Stung Treng province.
The Fisheries Administration is working with WWF to determine the current population of dolphins in the area, which they expect to have decreased since 2017.