New births and a decline in deaths have put Cambodia’s critically endangered river dolphin on the path to recovery (Photo: AFP) Phnom Penh (VNA) – The population of Cambodia’s critically endangered river dolphin is growing for the first time in decades, hailing a major turnaround for the freshwater species. The Irrawaddy dolphins, known for their bulging foreheads and short beaks, once swam through much of the Mekong River but in recent decades have been limited to a 190km stretch from central Cambodia to its northern border with Laos. The population has been in steady decline since 1997 from 200 to 80 in 2015 due to habitat loss and destructive fishing practices. But a rise in new births and a decline in deaths have put the species on the path to recovery. The number of Irrawaddy dolphins has increased from 80 to 92 in the past two years, according to a survey by Cambodian authorities and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which proves that the species can be protected against extinction. The turnaround was attributed to the efforts of Cambodia’s conservation agencies and the WWF through such measures as increasing the work of river patrol teams and removing illegal gillnets -… Read full this story
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