23 Aug '11, 9am

Dolphins in Mekong River on brink of extinction, new study reveals

WASHINGTON, DC, August 16, 2011 – Irrawaddy dolphin numbers have declined to just 85 in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River, leading researchers to conclude that the population is at high risk of extinction, a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey revealed. One big factor in the decline is that dolphin calf survival is extremely low. “Evidence is strong that very few young animals survive to adulthood, as older dolphins die off and are not replaced,” said Dr. Li Lifeng, Director of WWF’s Freshwater Program. The research is based on photographic identification of the critically endangered dolphins through unique markings on their dorsal fins. This method is called photographic mark-recapture, and similar methods are used for surveys of other species including whales, tigers and leopards. The current findings are higher than previous population estimates of the Irrawaddy dolphin, a...

Full article: http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2011/WWFPres...

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