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Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Dolphin Population Growing

Irrawaddy dolphin population in the Ayeyawady River has increased, according to the Irrawaddy dolphin conservation team under the Fisheries Department. A total of 79 dolphins living in Ayeyawady River in Mandalay – Kyauk Myaung sections between Bhamo and the second defile are spotted near the Mingun Stupa this rainy season.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Fisheries Department conducted Irrawaddy dolphin conservation and a survey between Mandalay and Bhamo in February 2020 and found 79 dolphins inhabiting in that part of the Ayeyawady river and the dolphin population has increased over one year period.

“According to our regular data, one to seven new dolphins are born per year. Currently, they are breeding. As we haven’t conducted a ground survey since 2021, we don’t have the exact number of newborns. The fishermen reported that they found seven dolphins including two newborns near Mingun in July. There are
a few numbers of dolphin deaths in the Ayeyawady River every year. We carry out conservation as much as we can and so it shows an increase in dolphin population,” said an official of the conservation team.

There are 29 dolphins between Mandalay and Kyauk Myaung, 16 between
the second defile and Bhamo and 34 between the second and third defiles. They live near the Mingun Stupa in the rainy season. The Fisheries Department of respective region/state launched awareness campaign to fishermen not to incur losses in marine resources and not to catch the dolphins together with the Irrawaddy dolphin conservation team.

Irrawaddy dolphins are found in three rivers – the Mekong, the Mahakam (Indonesia) and the Ayeyawady (Myanmar)— in addition to the estuary and coastal wetlands. The dolphins in Myanmar’s neighbours and India are called Irrawaddy dolphins. It found over 20 dolphins near Main Ma Hla Island in Bogale
Township of Ayeyawady Region in 2018, over 60 at Rakhine coastal region of Sittway Township in 2010 and another 60 between Myeik and Kawthoung in 2011. The survey shows the dolphin population increased over one year despite the deaths in 2022.