Koh Kong Province, 06 July 2013 –The meeting in preparation for the dolphin survey brought together dolphin experts from IUCN Thailand and IUCN Cambodia as well as all relevant stakeholders from Cambodia such as the Fisheries Administrative, the Department of Environment, and community members to meet and share survey techniques and methodologies. This survey will also collaborate with Dr Brian Smith, who is the Director of the World Conservation Society’s Asian Freshwater and Coastal Cetacean Programme.
Dolphins have been listed as one of the internationally most endangered species on the IUCN Red List and are fully protected by Cambodia’s Fishery Law. According to WWF (2011), it is estimated that there are around only 85 dolphins left in Mekong River. In Koh Kong Province, no research has been conducted on dolphins yet.
The dolphin survey will study the number of dolphins in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS), the places where different species of dolphin frequently use in PKWS and the areas adjacent to it in different seasons, the threats to dolphins including climate and non-climate factors, and also integrating this information into PKWS Management Planning.
Based on the results of this survey, the Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) project will also propose management efforts and trans-boundary collaboration for dolphin conservation between Koh Kong Province in Cambodia and Trat Province in Thailand.
Mr Marady Hun, Deputy Director of the Department of Environment said “In April 2012, I found around 20 dolphins swimming near my boat. Amongst them, one was pink and the rest were black. For us, dolphins are very important and attractive for tourists. We know that there are a lot of dolphins in Koh Kong. However, we do not know their movements, the places where they migrate, and their seasonal stay etc. So there is a need for us to promote dolphin tourism as it depends on being lucky enough to see them. This survey is very important for PKWS Management Planning and for the tourism sector.”
In Koh Kong, dolphins are one of the main components for development of the tourism sector. Mr Dara Vong, Chief of Village II, stated “Dolphins are a memorial gift for tourists. A lot of tourists come to see them. However, few are successful.”
Ms Saisunee Chaksuin, a specialist in dolphin conservation with IUCN’s Southeast Asia Group said “From my experience of working in the Gulf of Thailand, fishers observed dolphins for catching schools of fish. This is because dolphinseat the same species of fish that humans consume. Dolphins also move away from polluted water. This can help fishers who use mariculture to harvest marine animals before the polluted water comes to Samut Sakhon Province in Thailand. Moreover, I learnt from interacting with fishers in Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam that they find Irrawaddy dolphin in coastal areas. We can say this is an iconic species shared within our boundaries.”
This study will facilitate the creation of a Dolphin Rescue Network and a system to monitor and report first-aid administered to dolphins, thereby increasing the chance of survival of stranded dolphin and genetic data collection. Awareness and education of local people will be furthered with the creation of the Dolphin Conservation Network and Dolphin Eco Club which will promote this project to the community, including all the other stakeholders.
By Chenda Say, Saisunee Chaksuin, Ria Sen, Joehl Cadena Angela
For more inforamation, please contact:
Mr. Kimsreng Kong, Senior Programme Officer
Mr. Kong Sun, Field Coordinator
Ms. Chenda Say, Communication Officer