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Joy and Tragedy: Discovery of Two New Dolphin Calves in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 25, 2024 – In a bittersweet announcement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) revealed that research teams from the Fisheries Administration and WWF-Cambodia have recorded the birth of two new dolphin calves in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces. Regrettably, one of the newborns has been found dead.

The first calf, spotted alive on March 22, was seen swimming with a group of six dolphins in the Kaing Kaunsat pool, located in Koh Preah village, Siem Bok district, Stung Treng province. On the same day, another calf was discovered deceased in the Prek Prasab district of Kratie province, approximately 10 kilometers from the Kampi pool. The deceased calf, measuring 1.06 meters in length and weighing 11 kilograms, was estimated to be one or two days old.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the cause of death for the young dolphin could have been due to interactions with adult dolphins. However, researchers are continuing their investigation to determine the exact cause.

With the latest findings, Cambodia has registered a total of five new dolphin calves this year, alongside two unfortunate deaths. This development follows a year in which eight dolphin calves were recorded, showing a slight increase from the six calves recorded in both 2022 and 2021.

The Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris), recognized as a living natural treasure of Cambodia, are fully protected under the nation’s Fisheries Law. These majestic creatures are currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, indicating the highest level of international concern for their survival.

WWF-Cambodia highlights that the presence of dolphins in the Mekong River serves as a vital indicator of healthy fisheries, biodiversity, and natural ecosystems. These elements are essential in providing life-supporting services not only for the aquatic life but also for the people who depend on these rivers for their livelihood.



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