Wednesday July 3, 2024


The number of Mekong dolphins has risen to more than 100 in Cambodia, the agriculture minister said Monday, raising a glimmer of hope for the endangered mammals.

Irrawaddy dolphins—small, shy creatures with domed foreheads and short beaks—once swam through much of the mighty Mekong, all the way to the delta in Vietnam.

But their population in the river has dwindled from 200, when the first census was taken in 1997, to just 89 in 2020, largely due to illegal fishing, habitat loss and plastic waste.

“Currently, we have some 105 dolphins,” Agriculture Minister Dith Tina said during a ceremony to mark National Fisheries Day.

In the first six months of this year, eight new dolphin calves were recorded, but there were also two deaths, the agricultural ministry said.

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