Tourists are flocking to see and help endangered Ayeyawady dolphins, which are on the verge of extinction, according to Ayeyawady Dolphin Conservation Team.
In a bid to prevent dolphin hunting, the team started to cooperate with tour agencies in 2013 and a plan was implemented in 2015, said U Han Win, the in-charge of Ayeyawady Dolphin Conservation Team.
Under the plan, the tourists come to participate to protect the dolphins from hunters and fishermen. While they are here, they can taste and learn to make local food and observe local sights, allowing the villagers to earn extra money.
Cooking courses are being conducted in the villages where the Ayeyawady dolphin-based eco-tourism has been developed.
The dwindling numbers of Ayeyawady dolphins is attributed to electrocution fishing and becoming trapped in fishing nets. The conservation team, in cooperation with local police, patrol the conservation areas twice a month. Ayeyawady dolphin conservation activities were launched by the Wildlife and Bird Conservation Society and the Fishery Department. The effort is showing results. A total of 72 dolphins were counted in 2011 and 2014, whereas only 60 dolphins were found in some previous years.
Htet Aung (AMIA)