By Aung Thant Khine
The Mandalay Regional fisheries department is making arrangements to extend the Ayeyawady dolphin conservation area, currently located in Mandalay and Kyauk Myaung, said U Hla Win, the director of Mandalay Regional fisheries department.
“Local people from Kyauk Myaung have come to understand how to conserve the dolphins. But we have to extend the dolphin area. We have to raise a capital fund without affecting the principle. We will also request them to help us with dolphin conservation”, he added.
The fisheries department will conduct a field survey in 10 villages with the assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). For the local people to participate in the dolphin conservation project, the fisheries department will incorporate those villages into the Mya Sein Yaung project and provide loans without losing the principle. The dolphin conservation effort will expand with the availability of wide areas. The number of dolphins will never increase as long as the rate of breeding and that of mortality are equal, said the director of Mandalay fisheries department. According to February 2017 statistics there are 65 Ayeyawady dolphins from Mandalay up to Bamo. It needs to avoid catching the dolphins with the fishing net and using electric short circuiting.
The Ayeyawady dolphins are mostly found in shallow waters, in the wide area of the river where there is low traffic, said U Kyaw Hla Thein, the project manager from WCS.
Currently, the Ayeyawady dolphins are being conserved at nautical mile 52 in the Mandalay – Kyauk Myaung area. The Ayeyawady dolphin conservation area has been planned to extend to Kyauk Myaung and then to Bamo (nautical mile 225). Most of the villages are from Sagaing region.