The World Wide Fund for Nature-Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia) took 15 youths to the dolphin sanctuary in Kratie province for three days to learn about at-risk Irrawaddy dolphins along the Mekong River and the conservation approaches in place to keep the population going.
WWF-Cambodia’s public affairs and information manager Tep Asarith said the study tour in the Mekong flooded forest landscapes allowed the youths to observe the dolphins in their natural habitat and witness the efforts by public and private institutions to help the dolphins.
They learned about the approach that biodiversity researchers use to estimate the number of dolphins, he said.
“Youths met with officials stationed in Anlong Kampi [sanctuary]. They learned about the work of the river guard, the results and the various challenges faced,” he said.
Ven Puthealy, one of the youths on the trip, said the tour provided an opportunity to study dolphins in their natural protected area in Kratie.
The youths expect to share their experience through digital networks and encourage others to protect the remaining dolphins so they do not go extinct, he said.
According to a WWF-Cambodia report about Irrawaddy dolphins issued on October 24 to mark International Freshwater Dolphin Day, researchers estimate that only 89 dolphins remain in Cambodia’s Mekong River. This number has remained stable after a decline in the past decades.