Watch Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia
Kratie is a sleepy Mekong riverside town and one of the few place where you can encounter the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin that inhabits the upper reaches of the Mekong in Cambodia.
The latest population survey showed that only 92 Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit the Mekong River. Even this low number makes the Mekong subpopulation the largest of the only five remaining freshwater populations of this critically endangered species, in the world. The Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit a 190km stretch of the mainstream Mekong River between Kratie, in Cambodia and the Khon falls on the border with Laos.
The Irrawaddy is a shy, small dolphin that is dark grey with a paler underside, a small rounded dorsal fin, and a bluntly rounded head. It can reach lengths of 275cms, weight up to 150kg and normally lives in a group of up to 6. They spend most of their time foraging. The life expectancy of Irrawaddy Dolphins is around 30 years and while some individuals reach adult size at the age of 4 to 6, the age of sexual maturity is unknown. Young dolphins show impressive growth rates – born at around 1m in length and weighing 12kg, calves increase by over 50cms and 33kg in their first 7 months. Females give birth every 2-3 years, but in stressed populations mating may take place at an earlier age and calving at shorter intervals.