Lao Dolphins Get More Turf

Champasak authorities and residents have agreed to broaden the Mekong River’s Irrawaddy dolphin conservation zone from 21 to 150 hectares to provide more food and room for less human disturbance.

The move ultimately aims to conserve the dwindling population of the critically endangered dolphins in southern Laos near the Cambodian border.

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Laos (WWF-Laos) has supported dolphin conservation since 2009, through funding and various activities and projects to manage and preserve the dolphin population.

According to WWF survey teams from Laos and Cambodia, which recently conducted a dolphin survey, just four dolphins remain in Laos and 90 in Cambodia.

The Vientiane Times reported that Head of the Fisheries Division, Agriculture and Forestry Department of Champasak Province, Bounkeuth Khamphithak, spoke about the situation during a visit by officials last week.

Mr Bounkeuth has worked for the dolphin conservation zone since the start of the WWF-Laos efforts, and noted these four dolphins have not been breeding for several years, partly because their reproductive habits differ from other aquatic creatures.

The conservation zone is adjacent to Hang Sadam and Hang Khon villages where all forms of fishing are banned. The village authorities have river patrols that police the zone to ensure compliance with the ban.

Mr Bounkeuth urged people throughout the country, especially those in Champasak province, to help protect this rare animal, because they are an iconic attraction for tourists.

The best time to see dolphins is from December to May in the early morning from 06:00-08:00 or in the evening.

Source: Vientiane Times