The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, which groups the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) is supporting an important cause.
In collaboration with its partner WWF, MTCO wants to raise awareness of the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin, the official mascot of the Mekong Mini Movie Festival.
The event is the region’s first multi country annual tourism marketing campaign, leveraging the power of visual user generated storytelling to celebrate the many experiences of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Information about the Mini Movie Film Festival can be found under https://mekongmoments.com/minis.
Irrawaddy Dolphins are seen in both the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar and along the Mekong River between Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Historically, Mekong’s Irrawaddy dolphins population could be observed throughout the lower Mekong River from southern Lao through to the Mekong delta in Vietnam, and into many of its tributaries including Cambodia’s Tonle Sap.
Today, it is estimated that less than 85 animals survive in a stretch of the Mekong River between Cambodia and Lao, placing the species on the verge of extinction locally.
According to Cambodian myth, people believed that the Irrawaddy dolphin is a fair maiden with the body of a fish. As the story goes, a beautiful maiden was forced by her parents to marry a magical python but decided to cast herself into the Mekong River. Her suicide bid failed and she was transformed into a dolphin.
According to WWF, pollutants from industry and agriculture, fishing causing both stock depletion and entanglement in fishing gears, hydropower development which are changing Mekong mainstreams and destroys dophin habitats, aquatic and riparian ecosystem degradation and climate change. So far, it seems also that legislation to protect the animals is inadequate and rarely implemented.