09 December 2007

Changing Careers

Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), Critically Endangered

Cambodia, home to a critically endangered subpopulation of Irrawaddy Dolphins, is taking action to prevent this rare dolphin from becoming extinct. There are several populations of these dolphins found near coasts and estuaries in south-east Asia, all of which are critically endangered. The Cambodian population inhabits the Mekong River, and is threatened mainly by poaching, accidental killings by fishermen, and depletion of their food-supply, also by fishermen.

Now, the Cambodian Government is working with the World Tourism Organization, to increase prosperity in the area, as well as protect the Dolphins. The plan calls for locals to make a shift from depending mainly on fishing, to depending mainly on tourism. The idea is that if the dolphins can become the center of a thriving eco-tourism trade, thousands of visitors will flock to the area, allowing locals to find their livelihoods away from fishing the river.

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