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August 09, 2020

Measures taken to upgrade Ayeyawady dolphin conservation to regional level

Ayeyawaddy Dolphins seen jumping out of the water. Photo: Min Htet Aung (Man Sub-printing House)
Ayeyawady Dolphins seen jumping out of the water. Photo: Min Htet Aung (Man Sub-printing House)

To protect the endangered Ayeyawady dolphin at the regional-level, a dolphin survey report is being compiled and will be submitted for consideration at the Hluttaw, said U Aye Khaing, Chairman of the Mandalay Region Hluttaw Resources and Environmental Conservation Committee.
The dolphins’ natural habitats in Mingun, Kyaukmyaung, Htigyaing, Katha and Shwegu are designated conservation areas. The Department of Fisheries and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) are working together with local residents to protect the dolphins.
However, according to a WCS report, there are only around 72 Ayeyawady Dolphins in Myanmar. The dolphin survey report aims to prevent their numbers from dropping and to increase their reproduction rate by implementing a regional-level protection programme.

Ayeyawaddy Dolphins seen jumping out of the water. Photo: Min Htet Aung (Man Sub-printing House)
Ayeyawaddy Dolphins seen jumping out of the water. Photo: Min Htet Aung (Man Sub-printing House)

U Aye Khaing said protecting the dolphins is everyone’s responsibility and this is why the report will receive cooperation from dolphin activists before submitting it to the Hluttaw. He said it will be sent directly to the regional Hluttaw Speaker and encouraged to be presented to the assembly for debate.
Several reports indicate that the dolphins in Mingun and Kyaukmyaung areas have higher intelligence and are capable of assisting fishermen. Local awareness raising campaigns have managed to attract more people to help protect the dolphins and while this is admirable their injury rate has not gone down significantly, said Tabawa Sein Yaung Sone’s Chairman U Maung Maung Oo.
He said the report will focus on the dolphins’ behaviours and habitats and their decreasing reproduction rate. He said the river resources essential for the dolphins’ survival are also declining and need to be preserved as well.
So far, 4 Ayeyawady dolphins died in 2010, 3 in 2011, 4 in 2012, 5 in 2013, 3 each yearly from 2014 to 2017, 6 in 2018, and 2 in 2019. — Min Htet Aung (Man Sub-printing House) (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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