70

Irrawaddy Dolphin

Asia

70

Orcaella brevirostris

Endangered

The survival of Irrawaddy Dolphins is primarily threatened by:

  • accidental capture in fishing gear resulting in drowning and death
  • preference to stay in shallow water areas makes them prone to poaching and electrofishing
  • pollution and degradation of its natural habitat
  • high demand in commercial live trade

Irrawaddy dolphins, whose population as of May 2019 is just over 70 individuals, are highly endangered oceanic dolphins that are indigenous to South and Southeast Asia.

Also known as Mekong Dolphin, this brevirostris species means ‘short-beaked’ in Latin. It resembles the Beluga Whale in outward appearance but its genetic makeup is closer to the Killer Whale species.

Because the feeding ground is closer to land, there are always increased risks of becoming victims to various human activities such as accidental capture in fishing nets, collision with boats, and water poisoning.

Construction of river dams, climate changes, and use for public attraction are also some of the reasons why these warm-blooded marine mammals are in danger of extinction.