05/02/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Asian Dolphin Less Rare Than Thought

Prior to this study, the largest known populations of Irrawaddy dolphins numbered in the low hundreds or less, " WCS said in a statement. This is the marine equivalent of discovering a thriving and previously unknown population of snow leopards or Asian cheetahs - the kind of thing that gets a conservationist's heart racing. The researchers reported that the previously little-studied population in Bangladesh still faces threats such as accidental entanglement in fishing nets - a dolphin killer in many places. 2

Dolphin and porpoise species that have adapted to rivers and deltas around the world have long been considered some of the most vulnerable of marine mammals because of their restricted habitats. But in the great weaving of mangrove-fringed islets and channels that make up the sprawling coast of Bangladesh, biologists have found a thriving population of another species that marine mammal experts had also thought depleted - the Irrawaddy dolphin. After methodical surveys, biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Chittagong University in Bangladesh estimate that the region is home to 6,000 of the dolphins, by far the largest known population. "Bangladesh clearly serves as an important sanctuary for Irrawaddy dolphins, and conservation in this region should be a top priority". 1
  1. Asian Dolphin Less Rare Than Thought (Dot Earth (NYT))
  2. Good News on the Dolphin Front (Reuters Blog)