Some of the smartest creatures on Earth live in the seas
For the first time, in 2012, Irrawaddy dolphins were spotted in West Kalimantan, a part of Indonesian Borneo which is famous for its rich wildlife and dense tropical forests.
Also called by the name orcaella brevirostris, the rare dolphins were found during a study by WWF-Indonesia and the Regional Office for Marine, Coastal & Resources Management Pontianak (BPSPL).
“The presence of Irrawaddy dolphins in West Kalimantan waters was previously unknown, so we are excited with the results of this preliminary study and hope this will help reveal information on the population and distribution of this unique species.” -- Albertus Tjiu, WWF-Indonesia’s Conservation Biologist, and one of the study’s leading scientists explained.
The team had also encountered a group of Humpback dolphins, which is strong proof of how rich the biodiversity of the Kalimantan waters is.
“The results of this study indicate the importance of protecting the dolphins’ habitat, from the origins of the rivers in the Heart of Borneo.” – Albertus Tiju added.
“To the lower rivers of the island, including waterways of Batu Ampar mangroves and nypah forests, the narrow straits and the coastal areas of Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan.” – he also explained.
There are around 6,000 Irrawaddy in the world, with most of them situated in the coastal waters of Bangladesh.
The rest of these dolphins are scattered throughout Southeast Asia and can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the northeastern coast of Australia.
They are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, but in some areas – the Mekong River, the Ayeyawardi River, and the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan among them – these animals are listed as critically endangered.