But where they have been studied, numbers are generally low (in the 10’s to low 100’s). The Orca is closely related to them. Click here to find downloadable PDF fact sheets for each of the species featured on this site. The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is a euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin, meaning they transition between saltwater and freshwater. Irrawaddy dolphin habitat overlaps with that finless porpoises, humpback dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins. Qu’est-ce que l’observation responsable des baleines ? Please see the IWC Whalewatching Handbook, Copyright © International Whaling Commission 2020, Irrawaddy dolphins are not known to be particularly acrobatic or showy, but their history of close associations with fishing boats makes them approachable for dolphin watching in some areas of Southeast Asia where they are considered the main focus of marine tourism. waters of Sarawak, East Malaysia. A recent IUCN review of available studies and literature concluded that the threats facing the fragmented poulations throughout the species range merit a new Endangered status on the IUCN Red List17 and the species also carries a CMS Appendix 1 listing. Agricultural and industrial run-off in areas of dense human habitation are also associated with high contaminant levels in coastal areas where Irrawaddy dolphins occur, and a recent study of six Irrawaddy dolphin populations documented high levels of skin abnormalities thought to be associated with poor water quality16. Distribution of small cetaceans in the nearshore waters of Sarawak, East Malaysia. Adapted by Nina Lisowski from Würsig,B., Thewissen, J.G.M. As with all whales and dolphins, accidental entanglement in fishing gear, known as bycatch, is the leading source of human-induced mortality for Irrawaddy dolphins. Australian Snubfin Dolphin. But this habitat restriction also places them at great risk from human-induced threats like entanglement in fishing gear, habitat changes from coastal construction, pollution, and disturbance from vessel traffic1. A related species, the Australian Snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) is found only off the North coast of Australia and around Papua New Guinea2,3. In fact, dolphin-watching tours have more than doubled since 2008, according to WWF. Native to the following countries: Bangladesh; Brunei Darusssalam; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam predators and thus controls populations of other species below. Irrawaddy dolphins are patchily distributed throughout freshwater and coastal areas in Southeast Asia. Irrawaddy dolphins are patchily distributed throughout freshwater and coastal areas in Southeast Asia. Poh, A. N. Z., Ngeian, J., Tuen, A. Smith, B. D., Diyan, A. An Irrawaddy dolphin feeding in close proximity to a fishing vessel in Sarawak, Malaysia: Photo courtesy Cindy Peter/Sarawak Dolphin Project. gangetica) estimated using concurrent counts made by independent teams in But in Laos, gill net fishing is prohibited only in the deepest parts of the Cheuteal pool off Hangsadam Village, where the dolphins usually reside. They are known to bottom feed and sometimes surface with mud on their heads or backs. The dorsal fin is rounded and located around the middle of its back. They tend to occur in small groups of 2-6 individuals11, but larger aggregations have been documented in Sarawak4 and Thailand12. Irrawaddy dolphins are patchily distributed throughout freshwater and coastal areas in Southeast Asia. Irrawaddy dolphins are not known to be particularly acrobatic or showy, but their history of close associations with fishing boats makes them approachable for dolphin watching in some areas of Southeast Asia where they are considered the main focus of marine tourism. In the dry season, the dolphins’ range is further restricted to just nine deep pool areas along the river. The Irrawaddy dolphin is also regarded as a sacred animal by both Khmer and Lao people, and is an important source of income and jobs for communities involved in dolphin-watching ecotourism. and channel characteristics of cetacean hotspots in waterways of the eastern “The alarming decline of Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins in Laos that we have witnessed this year is tragic,” Teak Seng, WWF Conservation Director for the Greater Mekong, said in a statement. Irrawaddy dolphins’ main natural predators are assumed to be sharks 13, but much more concerning are the many human-induced threats they face.
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