Myanmar to begin dolphin survey next month

Nay Pyi Taw, Jan 25 (IANS) Myanmar Wildlife Conservation Society will begin its annual survey of the Irrawaddy River dolphin on February 5, said the society on Monday.

The 10-day-long survey will be conducted along the Irrawaddy River between Mandalay, Myanmar’s central region, and Bhamo, the northernmost part of Myanmar.

The dolphin conservationists team has been planning to conduct the survey after spotting a rare baby dolphin in a protected area between Mandalay and Kyaukmyaug in September last year, Xinhua reported.

The Irrawaddy River dolphin is found near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers around Southeast Asia, especially in Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The January 2015 survey shows that 58 dolphins were found between Mandalay and Bhamo, a drop from 72 in 2004.

Most of the dolphins were killed by illegal electric shock fishing, while some were caught in fishing nets, according to fisheries department.

The government has banned electro-fishing nationwide, punishing violators with a three-year prison sentence and about $300 fine.

The government authorities and conservationists reached an agreement in 2015 to form a team — comprising representatives from the society, the fisheries department and the police force — to patrol the river once every two months.

The Irrawaddy River, or Ayeyarwady River, is a river that flows from north to south through the country.

It is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway.

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