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  Yahoo News 8 Mar 07
Population of rare dolphins in Philippines falls, says WWF

MANILA (AFP) - Only about 47 critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins may be left in Philippine waters, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.

WWF-Philippines said the Irrawaddy dolphin was the most endangered dolphin in the Southeast Asian archipelago nation, with just 77 found in the Malampaya Sound, off the western island of Palawan, in a study in the late-1980s.

Since then, there have been 30 confirmed deaths while sightings of dolphin calves have been rare, WWF spokesmen said.

Most of the deaths come from Irrawaddy dolphins accidentally getting caught in fishermen's nets. Intentional catching of dolphins is illegal in the Philippines.

WWF-Philippines said there had been no new studies on the dolphin population but the organisation has a monitoring station in Malampaya, which follows up on deaths of the dolphins.

The dolphins, which have blunt, round heads and are light in colour, are found from Australia to Southeast Asia but their populations are usually small, with fewer than a hundred animals being spotted in one area. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the population in the Philippines as critically endangered.


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Related articles on Global: marine issues and dolphins including other sightings of wild dolphins in our waters
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