Sustainability Times –
Irrawaddy dolphins are curious creatures… in more ways than one. They are curious by nature and look curious too. Instead of having long bottle-like nostrums like their relatives living in the seas, these freshwater mammals sport snub noses with bulging foreheads. They look a bit cartoonish but delightfully so.
Not surprisingly, the winsome appearance of these critically endangered dolphins draws many tourists to their watery habitat in Kratie province in Cambodia where the Mekong river runs through.
The freshwater dolphins, which are named after a river in Myanmar, can in fact be found in several rivers in Southeast Asia, including the Mekong, the longest river in the region that begins in the Tibetan plateau and makes it way through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea. Yet even the luckiest of visitors to this stretch of the Mekong can only catch fleeting glimpses of the dolphins as the aquatic mammals spend most of their time underwater. They break the surface of the water only periodically and briefly before diving back down into the depths.
There is another reason why it is hard to catch sight of the dolphins: very few of them are left. Not that long ago they numbered in the thousands in the Mekong River.