Raising awareness for Irrawaddy dolphins

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The Irrawaddy dolphin continues to be under threat in the Kingdom. KT/Chor Sokunthea

During a Dolphin Day event on Friday, the World Wide Fund for Nature said nine dolphins were born, noting that five others perished so far this year.

Held in Kratie’s provincial city, the Dolphin Day event included exhibitions, photo displays, games, as well as a performances by musical artists.The event was held to garner support for freshwater dolphin habitats in the Mekong river.

In a statement, WWF said up until this month, nine dolphins were born, while five others perished.

“For the first ten months of this year, five dolphins died, an increase of three when compared to last year’s data,” the statement said.

Un Hoy, Sambok commune police chief, said freshwater dolphins in Kratie province are vulnerable due to the use of illegal fishing nets.

“Local authorities are trying to monitor dolphin activity and save them when they get entangled in fishing nets,” Mr Hoy said. “We tell fishermen to report to us if they accidentally catch a dolphin.”

In June, a freshwater dolphin weighing nearly 100 kilograms was found dead after being entangled in an illegal fishing net in the province.

Kem Pheak, a 25-year-old who attended the event, said he was interested to know about the life of dolphins in Cambodia.

“Dolphins are very lovely – they seem gentle and beautiful,” Mr Pheak said. “They are so cute when they swim in water – it’s lovely. I remember seeing them once in Kratie.”

In April, WWF reported a ten percent increase of freshwater dolphins in 2017 when compared to data obtained in the same period in 2015.

In the report, WWF said the dolphin population in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces had increased to 92 in 2017, the highest it had been in more than 20 years. However, it noted that dolphin habitats in the Mekong continued to face threats.

In order to prevent the loss of freshwater dolphins, the Mekong river is patrolled by rangers who confiscate illegal nets.

The prevention of using the nets contributed to the increase of freshwater dolphin population, it said, adding that in the past two years, 358 kilometres of illegal gillnets have been confiscated.

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