Wildlife rangers in Cambodia have sighted 3 new Mekong River dolphin calves born during the spring breeding season this year.
Conservation group WWF, which funds research and protection of the rare dolphin in Cambodia, says the 3 new dolphin babies are a very healthy increase for the total population of just 80 Mekong dolphins.
And the WWF wildlife rangers also reported no signs of adult dolphin deaths during their spring survey of the remote pools in the Mekong where the dolphins live during the low-river season, which is often a perilous time.
The Mekong dolphins are a unique population of Irrawaddy dolphin, named for a river in Myanmar where the species is also threatened. Most Irrawaddy dolphins live near river estuaries and the sea. But the Mekong dolphins are far from the sea and most live their whole lives in the river. In Cambodia only 80 dolphins remain in a stretch of the Mekong River between Kratie province and the Laos border to the north. Another group of about 5 dolphins live in the Mekong below the Khone Falls in Laos.
WWF funds scientific research and protection programs for the Mekong dolphins from a base in Kratie. Protection efforts include encouraging local fishermen to reduce the use of set gill-nets, which can entangle dolphins attracted to the netted fish.