World Wildlife Fund: Recent deaths of endangered Cambodian dolphins ‘an increasingly alarming situation’
- December 26, 2022
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A recent uptick in deaths of endangered Cambodian dolphins signals “an increasingly alarming situation” of illegal fishing in conservation areas, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported Sunday.
A healthy Irrawaddy dolphin, also known as a Mekong River dolphin, was found dead on Saturday after getting trapped in a longline fishing hook, believed to be an illegal fishing endeavor, WWF said in an emergency update on its Facebook page — the third such death in the last week.
The Irrawaddy dolphin death toll rises to 11 this year, “indicating an increasingly alarming situation and the need for intensive law enforcement to be urgently conducted in the dolphin habitats.”
Conservationists are saying the uptick in recent deaths among healthy dolphins underscores the urgent need for action against illegal fishing.
“The recent increase in illegal fishing activities in the dolphin conservation areas will cause the extirpation of the Mekong River dolphin in Cambodia if actions to stop these activities are not taken immediately,” Seng Teak, the WWF country Director for Cambodia, said in a statement.
The WWF official called for river guards to conduct patrols around the clock in dolphin habitats and for increased penalties for illegal fishing.
“There are no other options except to immediately implement strict law enforcement to crackdown on all types of illegal activities in the areas where dolphins live… If this crisis continues, the entire population will be lost in the near future,” Teak said.