In a significant step forward for nature and communities that depend on the mighty Mekong River, the Cambodian government has abandoned plans to build the Sambor hydropower dam and has put a 10-year moratorium on any new dams on the Mekong mainstem.
Swimming through fresh waters in parts of South America and Asia is what one might consider an unexpected figure: the dolphin. It joins the ranks of the shark and the sea turtle as some of the oldest creatures on Earth. And while they're most commonly associated with oceans, dolphins—and porpoises—can actually be found in several major rivers on two continents.
WWF conservation experts were thrilled to spot an mother Irrawaddy dolphin with her newly born baby on the banks of the Mekong River in Cambodia. Just last month, the dolphin family was found in Kampi pool, which is home to around 20 of the last remaining 80 Irrawaddy river dolphins in Cambodia. The river dolphins are beloved icons in Cambodia and females give birth only every two to three years, so any birth creates a sensation.
When we think of dolphins and porpoises, we often don’t think of fresh water. But in parts of South America and Asia, several rivers are home to these charismatic species. Dolphins are among the world’s oldest creatures, along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks. They provide important indicators of the health of rivers.
As tourism is slowly growing on the Camodian side of the Cambodia-Lao border, travellers can still discover hidden gems and set up tents on sandy islands in the Mekong river, amidst a small group of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.
Buddhist monks, community mobilizers, youth and various organizations rallied together against a backdrop of boats bearing banners asking Mega First to stop the controversial Don Sahong dam on the Mekong River on Sept. 11, 2014.
Many freshwater species depend on free-flowing rivers to complete their life cycles, and in some systems, those species make up critical parts of people’s diets. Here’s a look at five important species impacted by dams.
An estimated 85 critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins cling to survival in a stretch of the mighty Mekong River between Cambodia and Laos—exactly where Mega First Corporation Berhad is scheduled to begin construction of a massive dam in a few months.
Irrawaddy dolphins are an unusual species with small populations found in Southeast Asia. WWF works with local communities to develop fishery management zones to help sustain the fish population and conserve the species.
There are fewer than 100 Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River of Southeast Asia, and researchers fear the numbers are shrinking even further. But now the dolphins may have something to smile about. In September local government agencies in Cambodia agreed to work with WWF to conserve dolphins and minimize or eliminate deaths from gillnets.