Six thousand-member population of rare dolphins discovered in South Asia

Filed Under (Dolphins) by Alexa & Cindy on 01-04-2009

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There’s great breaking ocean news – and some not-so-great ocean news – coming out of the country of Bangladesh in South Asia. irawaddy_image2

Today, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that a large group of very rare Irrawaddy dolphins – 6,000-strong – have been discovered by their researchers.

Why is this so cool?

“With all the news about freshwater environments and state of the Oceans, WCS’s discovery that a thriving population of Irrawaddy dolphins exists in Bangladesh gives us hope for protecting this and other endangered species and their important habitats,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, in a press release. “WCS is committed to conservation of these iconic marine species from dolphins, sea turtles, sharks to the largest whales.”

This discovery is literally HUGE because in addition to them being rare, Irrawaddy dolpins are somewhat of a mystery. Researchers don’t know just how many of these dolpins remain in existence.

Last year, they were listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ IUCN Red List of threatened animal species.

But this brings up the not-so-good news: these researchers warn that the dolphins are in danger of becoming ensnarled and drowned in fishing nets (scientists found two dead Irrawaddies in nets while conducting their study), and are also in danger from climate change.

Head on over to Nat Geo News for more on this exciting but double-edged story.

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