Adventure in 60 Seconds: Found: 6,000 Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins
Scientists working with the Wildlife Conservation Society have discovered a population of 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins in the freshwater regions of Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest and adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal. Until this discovery in a largely un-researched area, the largest known population of the smiley ceteceans numbered in the low hundreds, according to a report issued by the WCS. The dolphins can be found in fresh waters around South and Southeast Asia. In Myanmar, they are known to "fish cooperatively" with local fisherman by herding schools of fish toward their boats then gobbling up the ones that fall out of the nets. Ironically, according to WCS's study, these same nets along with declining freshwater supplies in the region may be the biggest threat to the dolphin in the coming years.
However, scientists are optimistic about their discovery. "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 WCS.
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