10 Rare Mekong River Dolphins Recorded Dead In Cambodia In 2022: Conservationist Group

PHNOM PENH, Ten critically endangered Mekong River dolphins were recorded dead in Cambodia in 2022, a conservationist group said.

The latest death was an adult female of 193 cm long, aged between seven and 10 years old, weighing about 85 kg, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Cambodia said, in a press release yesterday, adding that, the Irrawaddy dolphin’s carcass was discovered floating in the Mekong River, in Kratie province on Thursday by a local citizen.

“After having examined the dolphin’s carcass, the research team of Kratie fisheries administration cantonment and the WWF, suggested that, the dolphin died after becoming entangled in monofilament gillnet, with signs of gillnet discovered on the fluke of the animal,” the news release said.

“This fatal incident marks the 10th death recorded in 2022, and the 28th death in the last three years. The death of a healthy adult female is especially sad, as this is a direct blow to the breeding potential of the Mekong dolphins,” it added.

Seng Teak, WWF-Cambodia country director, said, an increase of strict and regular law enforcement is urgently needed, to save the Mekong dolphins from extinction.

“These last few days have seen the deaths of two dolphins. This is a very serious and worrying sign of the trend, towards the extinction of the species in the Mekong River,” he said.

A joint study by the Fisheries Administration and WWF-Cambodia found that the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Cambodia has increased from 80 individuals in 2015, to 92 in 2017.

The Irrawaddy dolphins have been listed as critically endangered on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species, since 2004.

In Cambodia, the species live along a 190-km main channel of the Mekong River, in north-eastern Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.

Source: Nam News Network