March 9, 2022
PHNOM PENH – The team researching the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins has spotted a newborn baby in Kratie province’s Sambor district, according to the Fisheries Administration’s Department of Fisheries Conservation.
The department reported on March 7 that the calf was spotted by the research team and World Wide Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF Cambodia). They are conducting research and gathering data on the number of Mekong dolphins. The baby was seen swimming with eight adult dolphins in the Koh Phdao deep pool in Sambor district.
The researchers estimated the new calf was only about one-day-old. Every single newborn calf is important for the survival of the small Mekong dolphin population.
“This was the first calf recorded in the first three months of this year,” they said in an announcement.
The researchers said they are thrilled to see the calf, but at the same time they have also expressed concerns about its safety as fishing offences continue to occur along the Mekong River.
Tep Asnarith, WWF Cambodia’s head of communications, advocacy and knowledge management, told The Post: “Every single newborn calf is important for the survival of the currently small Mekong dolphin population, making the protection of the adult individuals from harmful effects of human activities even more critical by strengthening regular patrols and reinforcing the implementation of fisheries law in order to reduce the mortality rate of this globally important freshwater mammal species.”
The Fisheries Administration called on all people, especially fishermen living along the Mekong River in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces, to bring about the immediate cessation of all illegal fishing activities – especially fishing with nets and electric devices – to ensure the calf’s survival into adulthood.
In 2021, six baby dolphins were known to have been born, according to data from the Department of Fisheries Conservation.