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New research to save Irrawaddy dolphins from extinction in Mekong (2)

(Xinhua)

13:58, May 02, 2012

The population of Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong is ranked as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, CITES Appendix 1, the highest international forms of threat ranking for endangered species, and is listed in Cambodia's sub decree on identification of Endangered Fisheries Resources.

The latest population estimate by WWF suggests fewer than 100 adult individuals remain in the river, and that the survival rate of dolphin calves is very low. There is evidence to suggest this population is in danger of extinction.

Nao Thuok, director general of Fisheries Administration said the results of the research will provide valuable information to assist the Fisheries Administration to develop appropriate management responses to conserve this valuable species.

Entanglement in gillnets is recognized as the leading cause of death in adult dolphins.

Gillnet fishing will be banned within core dolphin habitat zones by the Cambodian government's new sub decree, due to take effect shortly. The cause of high levels of calf mortality however, remains unclear, and it is hoped that this biopsy survey work will help provide clues.

"We believe that conservation actions implemented by the Dolphin Commission, Fisheries Administration and WWF will provide a clearer understanding of the population and causes of calf mortality," said Seng Teak, director of WWF-Cambodia.


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