Harmful fishing practices in Thailand are pushing the rare Irrawaddy dolphin, an aquatic mammal known scientifically as Orcaella brevirostris, toward extinction here in southern Thailand, according to the Southern Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center and a team of Irrawaddy dolphin researchers and watchers.
The aquatic animals live in Southeast Asia’s freshwater areas and estuaries, and are critically endangered according to the World Wildlife Fund. In Thailand, the animal is found only in the northern part of Songkhla Lake called ‘Talay Luang’ in the southern provinces of Phatthalung and Songkhla.
However, the death rate of the animals there has continually increased, which raises concern for their survival.
According to Thailand’s marine centre survey conducted in 2006-2008, on average some four to seven dead dolphins washed up on shore, while the number of the animals has dwindled to as few as 36. In January this year alone, six Irrawaddy dolphins were found dead, entangled in fishing nets.