Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ENVIRONMENT - Dolphins in Southeast Asia

"Southeast Asia dolphins near extinction" by Lemery Reyes, Newsdesk (non-profit news) 6/24/2010


A rare breed of dolphins in Southeast Asia is on the brink of extinction, according to a conservation group.

The Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are oceanic dolphins located in countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. In a 2009 report released by conservation group, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there are an estimated 64 to 76 dolphins remaining in Cambodia’s Mekong River. The river runs over 100 miles through parts of Cambodia. It is also considered one of the major rivers worldwide.

Pollution, inbreeding and accidentally net deaths are cited as reasons for the decline of dolphins along the Mekong River.

“With such a high and unsustainable mortality rate, and marginal recruitment due to the large proportion of calves dying, the Mekong Population is likely to be the most critically threatened population of freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. With this population in serious decline, they face extinction in the near future, if immediate conservation action is not taken,” the study reported.

“These threats may all be additive or synergistic in their complex relationship to each other, making the overall conservation solutions very difficult. Integrating these health issues as one component of conservation, into policy development, will be crucial to the overall success of this project, to reverse the population decline and save the Mekong River dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) from extinction.”

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