Save The Irrawaddy Dolphin Project: Prepared and ready to go!

Dr Alfonso Lopez and Dr Komsin Sahatrakul from the Animal Health team at Resorts World Sentosa, have packed and are ready to embark on their journey to Songkhla Lake, the largest natural lake in Thailand, to conduct a population assessment of Irrawaddy dolphins in the area as part of the Save The Irrawaddy Dolphin Project.

Making the 960 kilometre journey from Singapore to Hat Yai, they will join teams from Chulalongkorn University Thailand and Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)

Eight subpopulations of Irrawaddy dolphins can be found from the warm coastal waters and rivers from the Bay of Bengal to western Sulawesi, Indonesia.

The Songkhla subpopulation is listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, which means the population faces a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Yellow marks the distribution of Irrawaddy dolphins. Screenshot of IUCN website.

From 28 April to 2 May 2015, the team will search the northern lake using boat and aerial surveys and count the number of dolphins they encounter.

Songkhla Lake, situated along the eastern coastline, covers an area of 1,040 square kilometres.

 The boats and aerial surveys will conduct be conducted simultaneously.

Over the 5 day period, the team will also conduct interviews with the local community, which could assist the project by providing both historic and current information.

The results of the rapid population assessment will help to define and implement a sustainable strategy, which will provide this Songkhla Lake population of Irrawaddy Dolphins with the highest probability of survival.

Dr Lopez will be sharing daily findings throughout the survey. Remember to bookmark and check back this blogpost for the latest updates.

 

Follow the team on their expedition:

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