Irrawaddy Dolphins are back in Myanmar

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Some good news for nature lovers come from Myanmar. According to the English-speaking daily “Myanmar Times”, a survey conducted in late February revealed an increase in the population of dolphins living in the country. Talking to U Han Win, a dolphin expert at the Ministry of Fisheries, the Myanmar Times learned that the animal’s figure has risen from 58 to 65.“The dolphins are not yet a disappearing species,” he said.

Inspectors found a dolphin calf in one of the country’s protected zones. River Guards from the Ministry found two other dolphins near Katha as well as some others near Bhamaw/Bhamo, Kachin State.

The survey is carried out every year, amid fears that the rare species is on the verge of extinction due to pollution and environmental damage against their natural habitat.

“The real threat comes from the gold business. Mercury and cyanide can cause death and the destruction of species. If it were not for that, the number of dolphins could increase,” said fisheries ministry director U Hla Tun.

The number of dolphins hit a low of 31 in 2002, rising to 58 in 2003 and 72 in 2014, before falling to 58 in 2015.

In a communication, the WWF praises current efforts from local and international communities to protect the much fragile Mekong Dolphin. According to WWF the current level of enforcement—combined with additional efforts behind the scenes—have helped reduce illegal and destructive activities, increase the number of calves and juveniles, and support a sustainable fish catch for local communities. The WWF estimates that the Mekong basin records some 1,100 species of various fishes and water mammals.