From friends to strangers: The decline of the Irrawaddy dolphin (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Now critically endangered, the last of the Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are concentrated in nine deep-water pools over a 190-kilometer stretch of the Mekong between Cambodia’s Sambor district and Khone Falls on the Lao border.Today the Mekong’s dolphins face a new threat. The proposed Sambor Dam on the river’s mainstream would catalyze the extinction of the remaining dolphin population and have disastrous consequences for many other fish species, as well as the communities that depend on them.Can Cambodia bring this river dolphin back from the brink of extinction?This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Sitting on the banks of the Mekong River repairing his fishing net, 60-year-old Saron recalls a story from the time of his grandfather: “One cool November morning, Uncle Somnang was casting his net off the shore of his island home when a wave knocked him off balance and into the river. He struggled to right his overturned boat, but was quickly exhausted by the swift current. Suddenly, he felt a surge from below. A grey river dolphin appeared, helped him to right his boat, and gently nudged him back aboard.”Saron’s wife Pin chimes in. “In the past, there were so many river dolphins,” she says, “they would startle us by suddenly jumping up along both sides of our fishing boats. In fact, they were just coming up to greet us and smile at us.“Dolphins are like human beings who live under water,” Pin explains. “Like us, they feed their babies with milk. That’s why our elders taught us to never eat them.”Sambor district sits astride the Mekong River in Central Cambodia. The river is the life force of the district — most of Sambor’s 50,000 inhabitants fish and farm along its fertile banks, or on the large islands that characterize this stretch of the Mekong.Now critically endangered, the last of the Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are concentrated in nine deep-water pools over a 190-kilometer stretch of the Mekong between Sambor district and Khone Falls on the Lao border.Fisherfolk on the Mekong at dawn. Photo Credit: Sabrina Gyorvary.The first major decline in dolphin numbers occurred during the genocidal Pol Pot regime, when the Khmer Rouge used dolphin oil in lamps, motorbikes, and boat engines, and also ate dolphin meat. After the Pol Pot regime, when guns were abundant throughout Cambodia, Vietnamese and Khmer soldiers reportedly shot at dolphins for target practice.Today, the Mekong’s dolphins face a new threat. The proposed Sambor Dam on the river’s mainstream would catalyze the extinction of the remaining dolphin population and have disastrous consequences for many other fish species, as well as the communities that depend on them. Large hydropower dams cause significant shifts in habitat size, water flow, sedimentation, and animal mobility, destroying fish and dolphin habitats and blocking migration to spawning grounds. In addition, the use of explosives during dam construction creates strong sound waves that pose a critical danger to dolphins due to their highly sensitive hearing structures.Already, the Don Sahong Dam in Laos, less than two kilometers from the Cambodian border, has blocked the only year-round migratory channel for fish and dolphins on this section of the Mekong. Due to the impacts of the Don Sahong Dam, in combination with the illegal use of electroshock devices, poison, explosives, and nylon gill fishing nets, the dolphin population is now functionally extinct in Laos.Kampi pool, near Sambor town, is home to around 20 of Cambodia’s last remaining 80 river dolphins. The area is home to a budding ecotourism industry, and local women, in particular, report benefits from the extra household income earned from selling boat rides to see the dolphins.According to WWF, “Research indicates a minimum mortality rate of 16-20 percent over the last 3 years, which is clearly unsustainable. In fact, scientists suggest that mortality rates should not exceed one to two percent to ensure this small population’s long-term survival. Calf mortality rates are mysteriously high, and there is no evidence that a single calf has survived to independence during the last 3 years.”In addition to sounding a death knell for the Mekong dolphins, the Sambor Dam would contribute to the looming food security crisis posed by a series of large hydropower dams planned for the Mekong River’s lower mainstream. If built, these dams would block the major fish migrations that are essential to the life cycle of around 70 percent of the Mekong River’s commercial fish catch. This would result in a total estimated fishery loss of 26 to 42 percent, placing the livelihoods and food security of millions of people at risk.The dam wouldn’t just increase hunger; it would also cause many families to lose their homes. The Mekong River Commission’s 2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment estimates that around 20,000 residents would be evicted from their homes and land to make way for the Sambor Dam’s massive reservoir.With their way of life along the river under threat, local residents worry that their children and grandchildren will only know of dolphins as mythical creatures of the past. “The dolphins have gone from being friends to strangers,” Saron lamented.As Mekong dolphins are revered by local people, the species makes an ideal flagship to mobilize support for broader river environment conservation issues. Rather than investing in environmentally destructive hydropower dams, the Cambodian government could take the opportunity to embrace cost-competitive renewable electricity technologies. At the same time, Cambodia could lead the region in environmental stewardship by bringing the river dolphins back from the brink of extinction.An Irrawaddy dolphin in Cambodia. Photo Credit: Stefan Brending, licensed under CC-by-sa-3.0 de.The names of people in this article were changed to protect their identities.Sabrina Gyorvary is Mekong Program Coordinator with International Rivers. She is based in Thailand.Namthip Khudsavanh is a freelance researcher and folklorist based in Laos.center_img Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Commentary, Conservation, Dams, Dolphins, Ecotourism, Editorials, Endangered Species, Environment, Fisheries, Hydropower, Mammals, Marine Mammals, Mekong Dams, Researcher Perspective Series, Rivers, Saving Species From Extinction, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation last_img read more