Cambodia makes safe zones for rare Mekong River Dolphins

According to a sub-decree, Cambodia has established Irrawaddy dolphin conservation and preservation zones along a 120-kilometer section of the Mekong River in the provinces of Stung Treng and Kratie.

The sub-decree, signed by Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, stated that the secure zone for the uncommon species encompassed 35 kilometres in the main channel of the Mekong River in Stung Treng and 85 kilometres in Kratie, according to Xinhua news agency.

“Fishing must be prohibited in dolphin conservation and protection zones,” the sub-decree stated, adding that vessels must not move faster than 30 km/h, and aquaculture is also banned.

The decision was made after three adult dolphins were killed within a week in December 2022 by longline fishing hooks.

Since 2004, Irrawaddy dolphins have been designated as severely endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

According to Kratie provincial governor Var Thorn, there are approximately 80 Irrawaddy dolphins in the Cambodian portion of the Mekong River, and the uncommon mammal is very appealing to national and international tourists.

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a small dolphin with a dark grey underbelly, a small rounded dorsal fin, and a bluntly rounded head.

It can grow to be 2.75m long, weigh up to 150 kg, and generally lives in groups of up to six.

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