Census finds increase in Irrawaddy dolphins

Census finds increase in Irrawaddy dolphins

This July 2016 photo provided by World Wildlife Fund, shows dolphins in the Mekong river near Kratie province in the northeastern of Phnom Penh. (World Wildlife Fund via AP)
This July 2016 photo provided by World Wildlife Fund, shows dolphins in the Mekong river near Kratie province in the northeastern of Phnom Penh. (World Wildlife Fund via AP)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's government and a major conservation group say the number of critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins along a stretch of the Mekong River has increased for the first time in 20 years but the animals still face serious threats.

A joint statement issued Monday by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Cambodia's Fishery Administration says a 2017 census pegged the freshwater dolphins' population along a 190-kilometre stretch of river from Kratie in Cambodia to the Khone Falls in Laos at 92, a 15% increase over an estimate made in 2015.

The country director of WWF-Cambodia warned that the dolphins still face many threats to their existence, including illegal fishing methods, increasing boat traffic and ongoing dam projects.


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