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Kingdom welcomes 13 newborn Irrawaddy dolphins in 2019

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
mekong dolphin
A dolphin traverses the Mekong river. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Kingdom has welcomed 13 newborn Irrawaddy dolphins in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces so far this year, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

WWF yesterday said in a report its research team spotted the latest calf during an expedition to the Kampi dolphin pool in Kratie’s Sambok village.

“This new dolphin calf was the 13th to be recorded from January to December 2019…six were recorded in Stung Treng province and seven were recorded in Kratie,” it said, adding there are now more than 100 dolphins in the Kingdom.

Captain Pav Kimhort, chief of joint staff of Chetr Borei district police, yesterday said his forces collaborated with WWF and fishery administration officials to regularly patrol dolphin habitats.

“Some people in the area still do not understand the importance of dolphins in the Mekong river,” Cap Kimhort said. “Illegal fishing is often committed and it threatens the lives of dolphins.”

He said people in communities must help protect dolphins so they are no longer endangered, noting many tourists will come to see them.

Eng Cheasan, director-general of the local fisheries administration, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Cheasan recently said a dozen dolphins were born in 2015, 11 in 2016, nine in 2017 and another nine last year.

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a red-listed species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its rarity.

The existence of these dolphins in the Kingdom is undermined by illegal fishing and the construction of hydropower dams across the Mekong river.

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