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WWF Calls for Urgent Law Enforcement in Dolphin Sanctuary as 3 Dolphins Die Within 7 Days

KRATIE: Another Cambodian freshwater dolphin was found dead after being caught by a fishing line, the third dolphin to die in just seven days. World Wide Fund for Nature calls for immediate action to strengthen law enforcement in dolphin sanctuaries.

On the evening of 24 December 2022, a 196-centimeter-long female dolphin, aged between 7 and 10 years and weighing about 93 kilograms, was found dead floating on Koh Trung, about 10 kilometers south of Anlong Kampi in Kratie Province.

According to a report by WWF-Cambodia released on the evening of 25 December, after examining the dolphin carcass, experts from the Kratie Fisheries Administration and WWF initially concluded that a dolphin died after being strapped to a fishing rod.

WWF-Cambodia Director Seng Teak mourns the deaths of three juvenile dolphins in less than 10 days, a clear message to authorities at all levels that this is a critical time to increase the presence of law enforcement officials in all major dolphin sanctuaries as the recent increase in illegal fishing activities in dolphin sanctuaries will cause the Mekong dolphins to become extinct if no immediate measures are taken to stop these illegal activities.

"There is no other option but to strictly enforce the law immediately to completely stop all forms of illegal activity in the area where the dolphins live," he said.

He added that in order to stop these activities, all river guard officers, and relevant law enforcement officers should be present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regularly patrolling the dolphin area, day and night. In addition to patrols, there must be severe punishments for offenders who have committed illegal fishing or other fishing offenses in the dolphin sanctuary as a warning to other fishermen to stop their illegal activities.

A total of 11 dolphins died in 2022, while a total of 29 dolphins died in the last three years. WWF-Cambodia calls on authorities to step up law enforcement efforts to increase day and night patrols to protect surviving dolphins from illegal fishing in dolphin sanctuaries.

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