TTG Asia –
Myanmar-based social enterprise Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project is aiming to rekindle age-old relationships between fishermen and dolphins while adding to Mandalay’s attractions.
Since launching at the end of 2017, Living Irrawaddy has developed a series of one- to three-day itineraries that immerse guests into Myanmar’s rich culture and deliver authentic experiences unique to Mandalay.
The tours take guests to cruise along the Irrawaddy River, stopping at small fishing communities living along the banks to learn about local life and the dwindling age-old practice of cooperative fishing.
This unique fishing technique, which is practised in only three places around the world, sees fishermen work with the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins that populate the area to fish in the waters.
Like the Irrawaddy dolphin, that fishing method is at threat as fish stocks deplete due to illegal fishing and environmental issues, as well as the introduction of more modern fishing techniques.
The itinerary also includes a trip to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. According to the latest count by WWF in January, the population of Irrawaddy dolphins that inhabit the Mekong River stands at 76, making them critically endangered.
Living Irrawaddy’s project advisor Paul Eshoo, who previously worked with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to help set up ecotourism initiatives to protect the Irrawaddy dolphins in the area, was approached by Living Irrawaddy Travel to devise dolphin tours.