By Pech Sotheary
Stung Treng, November 14, 2017
Nine critically endangered Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins, were born this year, but two of them died, the World Wildlife Fund has said.
In a statement issued on Friday, the WWF said the population continues to be threatened by illegal fishing and hydropower dams.
The WWF said at least nine dolphins were born this year, but two died, a better outcome than 2016, when 11 were born with six dying.
“The major threat to the Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphin is illegal fishing,” WWF said. “New proposed hydropower dams on the Mekong mainstream are also a concern to the future survival of the species.”
WWF-Cambodia director Seng Teak said that the dolphin is a national treasure and a tourist attraction that must be protected.
“WWF-Cambodia is collaborating with the Fisheries Administration and local authorities to continue conservation efforts,” he said.
Eng Cheasan, director-general of the Fisheries Administration, said the government is committed to protecting the dolphin.
“We are dedicated to preserving our Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin because we realise that they present an economic opportunity to improve people’s livelihoods,” he said.
According to WWF, the dolphin population currently hovers at only 80, a drastic drop from the thousands that once lived Cambodian waters decades ago.