Working to save a symbol of human-animal cooperation

Myanmar Times –

Fishermen living along the Ayeyarwady River near the Mandalay-Kyauk Myaung area are so familiar with the Irrawaddy Dolphins that share their fishing grounds with, they have given the animals names.

Among the most beloved are Gone Ma Gyi, Lel Waing Ma and Shwe Nyi Naung.

The dolphins have earned this affection because they help the fishermen increase their catches.

Gone Ma Gyi, one of the biggest dolphins in the area, is a particular favourite because she has been known to help even the most unproficient of fishermen increase their catch.

Le Waing Ma, who has a spot on her neck akin to a birthmark and a rounder face, is also known to be very helpful.

Two other dolphins, jointly called Shwe Nyi Naung, usually work together. While one of them is helping a fisherman near the front of the boat the other is doing the same at the rear. This explains their name, which means “the golden brothers”.

Their cooperative behaviour allows a fisherman to cast two nets.


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