The mutilated carcass of an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin washed up on the bank of the Ayeyawady River in Katha Township, Sagaing Region, this week, Myanmar’s Department of Fisheries has reported.
“The dolphin was found with an injury on her blowhole believed to have been caused by a human. It is also thought to have been old in age because it is seven feet long,” a department official told the Global New Light of Myanmar.
The fisheries department plans to survey the dolphin population next month and is working to expand protected areas of the river for dolphins.
It has also reminded local residents that action under the Marine Fisheries Law would be taken against anyone who kills, catches, wounds, or threatens an Irrawaddy dolphin.
This was the second Irrawaddy dolphin that has washed up dead in the last few weeks. On Dec. 17, a 7.5-foot-long female dolphin washed up in the same township with gashes on its abdomen.
“Her organs spilled out from the cuts. It did not look like a propeller injury. The cuts looked intentional, whether they killed her or happened after she was already dead,” the man who found the carcass told The Irrawaddy.
Conservationists say electrofishing and pollution are the greatest threats to the Irrawaddy dolphin.
After this death, there are believed to be around 65 Irrawaddy dolphins in Myanmar’s protected areas, down from 86 in 2012.