Marine life has been facing rapid extinction for a long time. This time we lost a beautiful species of dolphin. The Irrawaddy Dolphin is one of three species of dolphins that inhabit both fresh and sea waters. This species of dolphin has a spherical head and looks very cute. On February 15, the last dead dolphin of this species was found. They found him on the banks of the Mekong River in Koh La Ngo near the border with Laos.
The dolphin population kept shrinking
In a Facebook post, Cambodia’s Fisheries Conservation Department announced the news:
“We are saddened to lose the last dolphin at the Cheuteal water pool adjacent to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).
“The transboundary Mekong River dolphin sub-population experienced serious pressure from anthropogenic activities, change of the Mekong water flow, and climate change, causing the total population to have gradually declined,” it said.
The complete extinction of the Irrawaddy dolphins
The main reason for the extinction of this dolphin species is fishing. The dolphin can easily detect thick fishing nets with the help of echolocation. However, fishermen are increasingly using thin nylon nets that dolphins cannot detect. Subsequently, they become entangled in the nets and die. The last Irrawaddy dolphin was found just tangled in a fishing net.
The WWF suspects that this death represents a national-level extinction of the Irrawaddy dolphin in Laos. Lan Mercado, WWF Asia-Pacific Director, said:
“WWF is saddened by the death of the last known river dolphin in the transboundary pool in the Mekong between Cambodia and Laos.”
Greater protection for endangered dolphin species is needed
“The numbers in the pool have plummeted over the last few years, due to multiple threats including hydropower dam construction causing disruptions to river flow and reduced fish abundance, drowning in gill-nets, and the use of damaging fishing practices such as electrofishing and overfishing , ”Mercado said.
Freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins have been listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 2017. The dolphin population has been declining very rapidly. While in 1997 there were about 200 pieces, three years later there were only 89 pieces left. There is no Irrawaddy dolphin left now.
“The remaining population of‘ Critically Endangered ’river dolphins in the Cambodia section of the Mekong is now stable, whilst still facing serious challenges,” Mercado added. “This latest river dolphin death highlights how vulnerable these and other species remain.
“Documenting the lessons learned from this tragic loss is critically important if we are to protect the endangered species in the region.”
Image: Youtube screenshots – youtu.be/Vvux_xVUUSY