Irrawaddy Dolphin - The Mekong’s Favourite Inhabitants
by Ngoc Van Jun 14, 2017
Along the Mekong river, tourists will have a look at smooth flow, majestic mountains and sacred pagodas, etc. Our Mekong cruises not only take you to these beautiful sceneries but also help you obverse Irrawaddy Dolphin, one of the most favourite Mekong animals. The following content will introduce you to these special dolphins of Mekong.
Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella breviostris) is evaluated as one of the most magnetic river-dwellers in Southeast Asia. It is known that the origin of this rare kind of dolphin is from the rivers in Cambodia and the neighbour, Laos. What makes these dolphins special is their snub-nosed features, which help them cross the water easily. Besides, the characteristics also makes Irrawaddy more outstanding than other dolphins on the river. According to a large number of the locals, the existence of these dolphins contains a spiritual meaning. They are representatives of reincarnations of important individuals. Moreover, over the decades, these valuable dolphins have become the close friends of residents in Mekong river with the practical actions such as herding fish into fishermen’s nets. In addition, some stories tell about a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the aground ships to indicate the right way downstream.
However, like many other animals, the number of these dolphins has been decreased because of many reasons, especially human impact such as unethical fishing practices with electric current and dynamite, pollution caused by both the river-dependent people of Mekong river and visitors. It is estimated that there are less than 100 Irrawaddy dolphins in the river. Therefore, these famously shy mammals are classified “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and receive special care of a lot of global as well as local conservation charities.
Due to the carefully conservation of organizations, there are only a few cruises on the Mekong river that can provide passengers with opportunity to meet the Mekong dolphins. By our friendliness with the wonderful nature of Southeast Asia, the local understanding and the capacity of navigating the complicated Mekong passages, taking a sightseeing of Irrawaddy dolphins is a regular activity in our schedules of Mekong river cruises. Thus, you have a chance to close and see the rare dolphins in seriously controlled conditions when participating in our Mekong expeditions and hereby, raise your knowledge of these dolphins as well as make a contribution to protect the scarce species.
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