Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Irawaddy Dolphin

Pink dolphin tours in Koh Samui

Scientific name: Orcaella Brevirostris

Fact:  The Irrawaddy Dolphin is a slow moving species and can reach a speed of 25 miles per hour. They aren't well known for bouncing around and doing general dolphin things however they have been seen bounding out of the water from time to time 

Length: 5.9-9 Feet

Weight: 198-440 Pounds

Lifespan: 5-32 years

Natural habitat: Lakes, Rivers, Estuaries and Coasts (specifically the Mekong River)

Sexual maturity: 4-9 years of age

Gestation: 9-14 months and produces one offspring about every 2-3 years 

Litter: 1

Predators: HUMANS

Threats: Water poisoning, collisions with boats and getting caught up in nets. Also the potential building of the Don Sahong Dam (see the post I wrote about this here: )

Diet: Fish, Eggs, Mollusks, Aquatic crustaceans 

Interesting facts: The Irrawaddy Dolphin is like other dolphins a warm blooded mammal meaning they give birth, make milk and breath air. They are protected animals and the hunting of them will result in fines and jail time. The longest time recorded for a Irrawaddy dolphin to hold it breath is 6 full minutes. Also like other dolphins they do use echolocation to navigate their way around and locate food. They have a rounded head that looks as if they were related to the beluga whale although they are much closer related to the orca whale. They feed together in groups of less then 6 but can be as many as 15 dolphins. They are well known to spit water in order to herd up fish. In some places fisherman will convince the dolphin to heard up fish in to their nets and that dolphin also benefit as they catch any of the confused or dazed fish that don't make it into the net. 

Endangerment statute: Critically endangered  (highest endangerment status)

Want to help: Sign the petition to keep from the building of the dam that will lead the their extinction

Irrawaddy Dolphin and the Don Sahong Dam

Credit: reuters/dipani sutaria/handout

Hi my name is Jessica and I am a strong believer in the protection of wildlife and conservation of the wild world that surrounds us. Yesterday I came across a post on Facebook from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF or World Wide Fund For Nature), a well known conservation organization. The WWF helps protect all animals worldwide and tries to keep them from the dangers of extinction, poaching and habitat loss as well as many other threats. Since it is their goal to protect all animals they do all they can to bring attention to wildlife in need, unfortunately they can't reach the ears of everyone. Luckily I came across the post they made and I would like to help spread this information. WWF has stated that there is a Dam being built in the Siphandone area of Southern Laos in the Mekong River, unfortunately this is also the habitat of the Irrawaddy dolphin. The building of this dam could result in the extinction of these Critically endangered animals (highest endangerment rate possible). How you ask, well in order to clear the rocks and debris from the area where the dam will be built they will have to have numerous explosions, this will send dangerously loud sound waves through the water. The effect of this could potentially kill these dolphins who are equipped with highly sensitive hearing and if the blast doesn’t kill them there will be increased boat traffic, changes in water quality, habitat destruction and loss in food. An estimated 91 Irrawaddy dolphins are left in the world and approximately 85+ of them live in the Mekong river. However the creation of this dam will not only affect the dolphins that inhabit but the locals that live there as well. A lot of the locals livelihood depend on fishing in the Mekong. The blasts and the development of the dam on a whole will have consequences on the migration patterns of the fish that breed and live in this river, as it will block the channel leading into and out of the Mekong. This means that there will be a minimal amount of fish migrating to said area affecting the fisheries that reside in Southern Laos. The results will be less fish to catch leading to less fish being sold and there will be less fish for the people and dolphins to eat. The loss of the dolphin will be devastating to the locals as well because they are very helpful in that the fisherman often coax the dolphin to herding fish into their waiting nets(The dolphins do this by spitting water at whatever is needed to be herded). The dolphin also benefits because it can easily catch all the fish that are left behind as they end up dazed and confused by the sudden loss of everything around them. The extinction of the dolphins will also affect the economy of Southern Laos as the Irrawaddy dolphins are a huge tourist attraction and the disappearance of the dolphin will cause a great decrease in the amount of tourists visiting meaning less people are going to spend their money. As you can see the building of this dam will affect both animals and people alike. WWF has a petition that they have set up to try and stop the building of this dam and it is now crunch time to get enough signatures as the construction of the dam is scheduled for later this year. Please take a minute to provide your signature as it would be a great shame to lose these amazing creatures. If you have any questions on the dolphins you can email the WWF by going to this link ( you can also see the post on my blog where I will have all about the dolphin with information and facts (

(Please leave a comment below if you signed so I can thank you) 

The Petition:
More Information on the dam and the dolphin:
More information on the affects on fish migration: