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Mekong dolphins nearly extinct

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a distinct species of freshwater dolphin found in the Mekong River in Cambodia and Laos. Pollution has reduced population numbers to less than 80 individuals remaining.

Image: WWF

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claims there are between 64 to 76 Irrawaddy dolphins left in the Mekong.

Since 2003, 88 dolphins have died with 60% of those being under 2 weeks old. Veterinary surgeon Verne Dove says in a WWF report that "necropsy analysis identified a bacterial disease as the cause of the calf deaths. This disease would not be fatal unless the dolphin's immune systems were suppressed, as they were in these cases, by environmental contaminants".

Toxic levels of pesticides such as DDT and environmental contaminants such as PCBs and mercury were found during the analysis of the dead calves.

Researchers fear that these contaminants also pose risk to the humans who live along the river and consume the same fish consumed by the dolphins.

The organisation is urgently calling for a "trans-boundary" management plan to be established for the species.

The species is also found in other parts of south-east Asia where its numbers are also in sharp decline. Last year several thousand individuals were found in Bangladeshi waters where they were previously thought extinct.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8106323.stm

Irrawaddy dolphin of the Mekong River

Posted by: admin on 18th Jun 2009 08:23 PM
Updated by: admin on 18th Jun 2009 08:23 PM
Expires: 01st Jan 2014 12:00 AM

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