Our main objective in Kratie was to gamble at an opportunity of seeing the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins: that’s the only tourist business the Cambodians over there seem to focus on! As mentioned in a previous post, we opted out of a boat ride in Si Phan Don, hoping to catch a glimpse of them later.
Well, here we go! We went to the dolphin conservatory spot early in the morning before our 11am scheduled departure for the capital, Phnom Penh.
We took a 40 minute tuk-tuk out of Kratie and through ambient local villages. I immediately had a great feel for the locals: they were all in cartoon-filled pyjamas! Throughout our time in Cambodia, I noticed the prominence of pyjamas in Cambodian ‘fashion’ even more – many women went to work in pyjamas… left the house in their pyjamas… cooked their families’ breakfasts at 10am on the streets in their pyjamas. I found it fascinating!
Nevertheless, here are some quick Irrawaddy Dolphin facts taken from WWF’s website:
- Irrawaddy dolphins live in small pocket populations around Southeast Asia
- Those in the Mekong River and Malampaya sound in the Phillippines are near extinction
- About 6,000 are estimated to remain
- They differ from the ‘Flipper’ dolphin stereotype, as they don’t perform magnificent stunts. They mainly just surface slightly to breath, as you’ll see on the Youtube clip. Some – however – do make the rare unexpected, ‘flipper-style’ appearance
- Main threats to the species are from local fishermen and habitat loss.
To read more about the Irrawaddy Dolphin, check out: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/about/irrawaddy_dolphin/
- Kratie: Mekong River Dolphins (itchyfeetonthecheap.com)
- VIDEO: On the Mekong – Irrawaddy River Dolphins (itchyfeetonthecheap.com)
- National Geographic article on the Irrawaddy dolphin: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/10/irrawaddy-dolphins-freshwater-species-of-the-week/