Marvelling at the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins in Kratie, Cambodia

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.

Nico before boarding the boat to see the Irrawady dolphins in Kratie, Cambodia

Nico before boarding the boat to see the Irrawady dolphins in Kratie, Cambodia

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.

Sunset over the river in Kratie, Cambodia

Sunset over the river in Kratie, Cambodia

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!

Cambodian souvenir stall managed by pyjama-wearing Khmer femmes in Kratie!

Cambodian souvenir stall managed by pyjama-wearing Khmer femmes in Kratie!

National Geographic's photo of the Irrawady dolphin

National Geographic's photo of the Irrawady dolphin

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/

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5 thoughts on “Marvelling at the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins in Kratie, Cambodia

  1. Pingback: Irrawaddy Dolphin: New Endangered Animal for 2012 – waldina

  2. Lina, don’t know if I ever shared with you how much I used to loven watching ‘Flipper’. Like so many of those old programs, I thought it was all somehow real. The only time I recall seeing dolphins in the wild was in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. They were visible in the distance from shore. I thought it was pretty cool at the time.

    • Awww! I like ‘Flipper’ too! I presume you’ve read about the actor from ‘Flipper’, no? Since the show ended, he’s become a hardcore activist against captivation and killing of dolphins. Have you heard of the documentary, ‘The Cove’? I highly recommend it (but be weary, it’s a very gruesome account of the treatment against dolphins). The actor from ‘Flipper’ is the key player in the documentary. If you enjoyed it so much, make sure you check it out!

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