Pollution in the Mekong River of Indochina have pushed the Irrawaddy dolphins to near extinction, according to a report released by an international conservation watchdog recently.
The report, which was released on Thursday, mentioned that an alarmingly high level of toxic pesticides and environmental contaminants -- DDT and PCB -- have been found during an analysis on some dead dolphin calves. The report also mentions that since 2003, the dolphin population has met an approximate 88 deaths involving pollutants, and that more than 60 percent of the dead dolphins were calves under two weeks old.
The World Wide Fund for Nature claimed that pollutants are widely distributed in the environment, and that several countries in Indochina along the Mekong stretch are probably involved actively in the practice. Author and veterinarian with WWF Cambodia, Vern Dove, said that analysis have indicated a bacterial disease is initially to blame for the calves' deaths. However, the disease would not be fatal if it wasn't for the presence of pollutants and environmental contaminants, suppressing the dolphins' immune systems.
The estimated current population of Irrawaddy dolphins living along the 190-km stretch of the Mekong between Cambodia and Laos, are roughly between 64 and 76 left, according to the report.