Preg­nant Ir­rawaddy dol­phin be­lieved killed by elec­tro-fisher

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­times.com

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL ac­tivists be­lieve a preg­nant Ir­rawaddy dol­phin was killed by il­le­gal elec­tro-fish­ers this month in Sa­gaing town­ship.

The dol­phin was found dead near Kho Taung vil­lage, said Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (WCS) project man­ager U Kyaw Hla Thein.

“We found no wounds on the dead dol­phin so that it is be­lieved that the cause of death is elec­tric fish­ing,” he said. “Res­i­dents called this dol­phin ‘Thar Gyi Ma’ and she was preg­nant. Her baby was also killed.”

Elec­tro-fish­ing re­lies on elec­trodes to cre­ate mus­cu­lar con­vul­sions in fish, caus­ing them to swim to­ward the elec­trodes and be­come stunned. The prac­tice was out­lawed in 2005. The dead dol­phin used to live near Inn Daung vil­lage with four other dol­phins. She helped fish­ers and tour guides, said U Than Oo from Inn Daung vil­lage.

“She al­ways helped out the lo­cal net fish­ers,” he said. “I am sad that she died and even more sad that her baby died as well. The gov­ern­ment should take proper ac­tion against those who prac­tice elec­tric-shock fish­ing.”

The mother was seven months preg­nant and due in a few months, said U Kyaw Hla Thein.

The bod­ies of three Ir­rawaddy dol­phins have been found this year. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey car­ried out by the Depart­ment of Fish­eries in Fe­bru­ary, there are 65 dol­phins left in the Aye­yarwady River.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: Sup­plied/Ir­rawaddy Dol­phin Con­ser­va­tion Team

Men lift a preg­nant Ir­rawaddy dol­phin thought to have been killed by elec­tric-shock fish­ing this month.

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