Mekong dolphins faces extinction - WWF

2011-08-17 12:22

Tokyo - The Irrawaddy dolphin population in the Mekong River numbers roughly 85, with the survival of new calves very low, suggesting they are at high risk of extinction, environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Wednesday.

The Irrawaddy dolphins live in a 190km section of the Mekong between Kratie, Cambodia and the Khone Falls, which are on the border with Laos.

Fishing gear, especially gill nets, and illegal fishing methods involving explosions, poison and electricity all appear to be taking a toll, with surveys conducted from 2007 to 2010 showing the dolphin population slowly declining, the WWF added.

"Evidence is strong that very few young animals survive to adulthood, as older dolphins die off and are not replaced," said Li Lifeng, director of WWF's Freshwater Programme, in a statement.

"This tiny population is at risk by its small size alone. With the added pressure of gill net entanglement and high calf mortality, we are really worried for the future of dolphins."

Legal framework

Research also shows that the population of dolphins in a small trans-boundary pool on the Cambodia-Laos border may be as few as seven or eight, the WWF added, despite the fact that Irrawaddy dolphins are protected by law in both nations.

The group called on Cambodia to establish a clear legal framework to protect dolphins, including steps such as banning gill nets if needed.

"Our best chance of saving this iconic species from extinction in the Mekong River is through joint conservation action," Li said.

Dolphins once ranged from the Mekong delta in Vietnam up through the Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and then up tributaries into Laos, but shot by soldiers and harvested for oil in the past.

Irrawaddy dolphins are found in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: The Mekong, the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar, and the Mahakam in Indonesian Borneo.

  • sardonicus - 2011-08-17 16:20

    Put them out of their misery already, how would they live anyway, when people are allowed to breed unabatedly and enroach upon their habitats. One wonders why we even try, just kill all the rhinos, tigers and everything else while we're at it. May we face extinction ourselves, Amen. I certainly hope that the human race will fall flat on its face. On that note its time to sing: "A warm dry wind is all that breaks the silence, The highways quiet scars across the land. People lie, eyes closed, no longer dreaming, The earth dies screaming. Like scattered pebbles, cars lie silent waiting, Oil-less engines seized by dirt and sand. Bodies hanging limp, no longer bleeding, The earth dies screaming. Half eaten meals lie rotting on the tables, Money clutched within a bony hand. Shutters down, the banks are not receiving, The earth dies screaming."

  • Tasneem - 2012-04-30 11:50

    I must say that thanks to human kinds plain greed and toatal disregard for the law and the rules it provides,my 2 year old daughter might grow up having never seen a dolphin,rhino,loin etc. This is no exaggeration,at the rate its goin now and the pace that theses poor,beautiful,innocent animals are being slaughtered,i am terrified that we will have no wildlife left in a few years!

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