Census finds increase in Mekong River’s Irrawaddy dolphins

Cambodia’s government and a major conservation group say the number of critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins along a stretch of the Mekong River has increased for the first time in 20 years but the animals still face serious threats.

A joint statement issued Monday by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Cambodia’s Fishery Administration says a 2017 census pegged the freshwater dolphins’ population along a 190-kilometer (118- mile) stretch of river from Kratie in Cambodia to the Khone Falls in Laos at 92, a 15 percent increase over an estimate made in 2015.

The country director of WWF-Cambodia warned that the dolphins still face many threats to their existence, including illegal fishing methods, increasing boat traffic and ongoing dam projects.

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