Source: mmtimes

Date: 21 December 2017

A rare Ayeyarwady dolphin was found dead in Ayeyarwady River near Kyaut Pone village, Katha township, Sagaing Region, on Sunday, said U Kyaw, a local resident who found the carcass of the mammal.

"I found it in the river. I saw its stomach had been ripped open. I carried it to the beach," he said. "The dolphin was no longer moving when I found it," he said.

A fishery department official in Katha township said the dolphin was a female, about 7 feet long and 3½ feet in girth. He said the carcass has been buried.

"It might have died after being hit by something, such as a propeller of a boat," the official said. "It died some days ago. This is the third dolphin that was found dead in the river this year,"

Two dolphins died in Myit Kan Gyi village, Singu township on April 28 and near Thone Sel Pay village, Mataya township on June 21, he added.

There are about 68 dolphins in Ayeyarwady River, according to the Ayeyarwady Dolphin Conservation Team.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) earlier in the month classified the Ayeyarwady dolphin as an endangered species.

The endangered species are found near the coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. These dolphins have a bulging forehead, short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of their jaws, according to conservation group WWF.

Like sharks and sea turtles, the Ayeyarwady dolphins are considered one of the oldest creatures on earth.

WWF said the protection of the Ayeyarwady dolphin is crucial for the overall health of the Mekong River, home to an estimated 1100 species of fish.

"The Ayeyarwady dolphin is also regarded as a sacred animal by both the Khmer and Lao people, and is an important source of income and jobs for communities involved in dolphin-watching ecotourism," it said.