Rare Mekong River dolphin dies of longline fishing hook in Cambodia

26 Dec 2022 10:54pm
Dolphin in fresh water Kratie Province Cambodia March 2015 (Photo Source: 123rf)
Dolphin in fresh water Kratie Province Cambodia March 2015 (Photo Source: 123rf)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - A critically endangered Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin has been found dead after getting caught in a longline fishing hook in northeastern Cambodia's Kratie province, bringing the total number of dead dolphins to 11 so far this year, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Cambodia said in a news release on Sunday.

The latest dead dolphin was an adult female of 196 cm long, aged between seven and 10 years old, and weighing 93 kg, the news release said, adding that the mammal was spotted dead on Saturday.

"A detailed examination on the dolphin's carcass by the research team of Kratie Fisheries Administration Cantonment and WWF suggested that the dolphin tragically passed away after getting caught in longline fishing hook," the news release said.

"The team confirmed signs of longline fishing hook wrapped around the dolphin's body, fluke and flipper."

"This was a third healthy dolphin that died within just a seven-day period, indicating an increasingly alarming situation and the need for an intensive law enforcement be urgently conducted in the dolphin habitats," it added.

According to the WWF, 11 dolphins had passed away so far in 2022, bringing the total number of dead dolphins to 29 in the last three years.

Seng Teak, WWF-Cambodia country director, called for an increase in both day and night patrols in order to protect the remaining dolphins from being killed by illegal fishing in the conservation areas.

"The recent increase in illegal fishing activities in the dolphin conservation areas will cause the extirpation of the Mekong River dolphin in Cambodia if actions to stop these activities are not taken immediately," he said.

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The Irrawaddy dolphins have been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species since 2004.

In Cambodia, the species live along a 190-km main channel of the Mekong River in northeastern Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. - XINHUA