Cambodia’s Hun Sen orders safe zones to save rare dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphins swam through much of the mighty Mekong river but their population has dipped massively since 1997.

Cambodian premier Hun Sen on Monday ordered the creation of conservation zones on the Mekong river to protect critically endangered dolphins, after three were killed by fishing nets and lines last month.

The Irrawaddy dolphins, known for their bulging foreheads and short beaks, once swam through much of the mighty Mekong but in recent decades have been limited to a 190-km (118-mile) stretch from northeast Kratie province to the border with Laos.

Their population has been in steady decline since the first census was taken in 1997, dropping from 200 that year to around 90 currently due to habitat loss and destructive fishing practices.

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