Scientists Discover Endangered Dolphins

16.01.2012

Irawaddy DolphinLarge population of Irawaddy dolphins was detected in the Mekong river delta in Viet Nam. Biologists haven’t yet observed such a large group of Irawaddies – about 20 specimen – at once. It is considered a great luck since there are only 200 specimen of Irawaddy dolphins in wildlife.

Scientists have already warned governments of all states related to the Mekong River to take all the necessary measures to save this rare species from total extinction.

Irawaddies have several features not common for other dolphins. Firstly, their jaws are not as long, and they don’t have that typical dolphin nose. Secondly, they inhabit both marine and freshwater bodies. An thirdly, Irawaddies can move their neck from side to side, which is unusual for most representatives of Cetacia, or whale, order. When exploring new environment, these dolphins stick their head above the water and observe whatever surrounds them.

Meanwhile, fishermen from South-Eastern Asia told the biologists that earlier Irawaddy dolphins were quite common to the region. They even helped the locals to trap the fish by chasing it straightly to the net. In XIX century every fishermen family had their own Irawaddy clan.

This was what basically led to their extinction: unlike mature specimen, young calves got trapped and died. By mid-XX century, premature death rate of Irawaddies reached 60%, and with the spread of trawling it grew to 80%. The only way to save this extremely endangered species is to prohibit trawl fishing in Irawaddy habitat, experts say.