A female Irrawaddy baby dolphin was found dead by the river guards of the Anlong Kampi Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area on April 24 in Sambok commune of Kratie province’s Chitr Borei district.
Sao Sinoeun, a member of the Sambok fishing community who joined the river guard, told The Post on April 25 that while patrolling the upper part of Anlong Kampi – about 100m from the commune – his team found the carcass floating in the water and retrieved it with their boat to bring it to World Wide Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia) for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
“When we retrieved the dolphin, we found no scars on its body and no fishing nets on its back and tail fins so we do not know why it died,” he said.
According to Mok Ponlok, director of the Kratie provincial Fisheries Administration, it weighed 13kg and was only about one week or 10 days old.
Experts from the Fisheries Administration and WWF-Cambodia initially concluded that the baby could have been killed by another dolphin.
“We have examined it and found no significant scars or injuries. We suspect it died due to the aggressive behaviour of older male dolphins because when a baby is born, the male Irrawaddy dolphin is often jealous and will even engage in biting and other violence,” he said.
However, its body is currently being kept by WWF-Cambodia officials in Kratie province awaiting forensic experts to continue studying it to determine the exact cause of death.
According to data from the Fisheries Administration, two baby Irrawaddy dolphins were recorded as having been born in 2022.
The first baby Irrawaddy dolphin was spotted on the morning of March 7 while it was swimming and playing in the Mekong River with a herd of eight small and large dolphins at Koh Pdao Canyon in the province’s Sambo district.
The second baby dolphin was spotted on April 22 while swimming with nine other dolphins in the province’s Kampi Dolphin Sanctuary.
Irrawaddy dolphins are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as an endangered species. The results of the 2020 Irrawaddy Dolphin Census by the Fisheries Administration and WWF-Cambodia show that there are only 89 Irrawaddy dolphins still living in the Mekong River in Cambodia.