Irrawaddy dolphins closer to extinction

Irawady-dolphin_030805

Asia’s Irrawaddy dolphin may be closer to extinction than recent figures suggest. A recent announcement from the Government of Cambodia implies that a population of the dolphins found in the upper stretches of the Mekong River is thriving, with an increase from 90 to 160 dolphins in just one year.

However conservationists remain concerned for the future of these unique river dolphins, highlighting that it would be impossible for the population to grow so quickly. Irrawaddy dolphins typically only have one offspring every two years and their gestation period is 11 months.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s (WDCS) Nicola Hodgins said “We welcome all efforts to protect these highly vulnerable animals, but are concerned that their situation remains critical.”

Irrawaddy dolphins face a number of serious threats throughout their range, including entanglement in fishing nets, destruction of their habitat through development and dams, as well as capture for aquaria.

WDCS funds a number of projects to help protect Irrawaddy dolphins, for more information go to: http://www.wdcs.org/fieldprojects

Source: WDCS/Reuters