Thursday February 22, 2024


Imagine the serene waters of the Mekong River in Cambodia, where the rare and graceful Irrawaddy dolphins have made their home. Yet, this tranquility was shattered on February 18th, when a male Irrawaddy dolphin, a symbol of the river’s biodiversity, was found dead in the Preaek Prasab district of Kratie province. The cause of death? Entanglement in an illegal gillnet, a stark reminder of the threats these critically endangered creatures face daily.

The loss of this dolphin is not just a tragedy for biodiversity; it’s a wake-up call to confront the rampant illegal fishing practices threatening Cambodia’s aquatic life. The Fisheries Administration, in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has identified the marks of a gillnet on the dolphin’s tail base as the cause of death. This instance is a grim testament to the perilous conditions under which these dolphins, with an estimated population of just 90 along a 180-km channel of the Mekong River, struggle to survive.

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