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Thailand Step up to Boost Protection of Dolphins in Songkhla Lake



Thailand Step up to Boost Protection of Dolphins in Songkhla Lake

(CTN News) – Concerns about the threats facing the 14 to 20 Irrawaddy dolphins still living in Songkhla Lake are growing, so dolphin experts from international organizations recently met with local organizations at the World Bank office in Bangkok to discuss how they can work together to intensify conservation efforts to mitigate any potential effects in the future.

The World Bank, the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and representatives from India, Cambodia, and Laos attended the largest gathering of dolphin experts ever held in this country.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the Department of Fisheries, and the Department of Rural Roads also discussed the action plan to protect river dolphins.

The meeting approved the proposed conservation guidelines, which will significantly strengthen efforts to protect river dolphins, according to Assistant Professor Thon Thamrong-Nawasawat, who is also the chairman of the marine endangered species working group under the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University.

Thailand will conduct research using various techniques, including boat-based surveys, aerial surveys, acoustic surveys, and other means, by the action plan (DNA, genetic diversity, water quality, and ecosystem).

To enhance the existing condition of the species and lessen current harms, there will be a joint statement on the protected area, patrols, sustainable fishing, and awareness programs.

Future possible repercussions must be closely monitored. Before, during, and after construction, information on the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) requirements of a bridge project spanning Songkhla Lake will be made available.

These include setting up sediment curtains, a patrol boat for dolphin watching, warning alerts, and underwater sound recorders.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources will also promote public awareness and participation through campaigns that include a media tour, hiring celebrities and well-known people on social media, creating a documentary (currently in the planning stages by the ThaiWhales group), opening a center for dolphin conservation, and using crowdfunding.

In terms of immediate implementation, the EIA team and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources have coordinated to conduct a joint research effort, providing the central database for the experts to access, funding an urgently needed patrol operation, funding research by other agencies, studies on sustainable fishing, and research into food resources, water quality, ecosystems, and other threats.

Thailand will also get support from public activities like collecting ghost fishing gear and sponsoring charitable causes.

Thailand was requested by international experts to include habitat restoration in the conservation manual.

The Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University aims to have no more than one stranded yearly by conservation recommendations, which will stabilize the dolphin population for 15 years and eliminate the threat of extinction in 30 years.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources previously reported that dolphin populations have been falling for the last 30 years, with gillnet entanglement providing the greatest danger to the animals.

Concerns have been expressed concerning the effect of the bridge-building project on natural resources, notably dolphins, in Songkhla Lake.

On October 18, 2022, the Cabinet approved a bridge-building project connecting the districts of Krasae Sin in Songkhla province and Khao Chaison in Phatthalung province.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified Irrawaddy dolphins as critically endangered (IUCN). Only five nations in the world—India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand—are home to these freshwater dolphins.

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Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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