Irrawaddy dolphins near extinction as Mekong region develops

There are only 80 Irrawaddy dolphins left in a loosely-patrolled stretch of the Mekong River in central Cambodia.

Hydropower dams are shrinking freshwater pools in their main habitat, leading to more contact with fishermen who threaten their survival.

Three dolphins died in December, accounting for about 5 per cent of their population in the Mekong. Cambodia’s premier Hun Sen recently called for the creation of conservation zones to protect the mammal, which numbers about 250 globally.

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