Last Known Irrawady Dolphin Found Dead

Cambodian wildlife officials reported the death of the last known freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin on the stretch of the Mekong River in northeastern Cambodia on Wednesday.

The dolphin was found dead on Tuesday on a riverbank in Stung Treng province near the border with Laos.

According to Cambodia’s Fisheries Conservation Department, the dolphin got tangled in a fishing net and could not swim or hunt properly.

The freshwater dolphins, also known as the Mekong River dolphin, have been classified as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) noted that the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins “inhabit a 118-mile stretch of the river between Cambodia and Lao PDR and are scarce with only 92 individuals are estimated to still exist.”

In 1997, the fisheries department conducted its first census of Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia and estimated that their population was about 200 at the time. 

By 2020, the population had gone down to 89.

Conservationists said, besides fishing nets, pollution also threatens the survival of the Mekong River dolphin.

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