SEA Globe –
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its red list of threatened species on Tuesday, announcing that due to the effects of human activity the irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise have had their listing changed from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’, meaning they are one rank closer to extinction.
The once abundant numbers of the two aquatic mammals that roamed the coastlines of Southeast Asia have been on a fast-paced downward spiral over the past 100 years, due mostly to loss of habitat and getting entangled in illegal fishing nets.
The re-evaluation of the listing for the irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise comes after the population numbers declined by half over the past 60 years and 45 years respectively, the new edition of the closely watched red list found.
“These species live in shallow waters near shore and both have populations confined to freshwater systems, and that makes them extremely vulnerable to human activities,” red list head Craig Hilton-Taylor told reporters on Tuesday. “In the Mekong river, for example, the majority of irrawaddy dolphin deaths in recent years have been caused by entanglement in gill nets. These nets hang like curtains of deaths across the river.”