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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Study Finds Unknown Cache of Irrawaddy Dolphins

Thousands of rare Irrawaddy dolphins have been discovered in Bangladeshi waters, bringing the number of known Irrawaddy dolphins up considerably. However researchers note these 6000 dolphins are already endangered by fishing nets and climate changes.

Irrawaddy dolphins are related to orcas (killer whales) and grow to about 8' in length. They are found in freshwater rivers and estuaries in Asia. The largest known populations were thought to contain only a few hundred, if that. The 6000-strong population was discovered in the freshwater regions of the Sundarbans mangrove forest and the Bay of Bengal.

The study made the information known so they could push for greater fishing restrictions in and around the areas. Researchers said the discovery brings "great hope" for the species.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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