Back in 2012, and for the first time, Irrawaddy dolphins were spotted in West Kalimantan, a part of Indonesian Borneo which is well known for its rich wildlife and dense tropical forests.
Also known as orcaella brevirostris, the rare dolphins were found during a study in 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.
A group of Humpback dolphins was also encountered by the team, which strongly evidences how rich the biodiversity of the Kalimantan waters are.
“The results of this study indicate the importance of protecting the dolphins’ habitat, from the origins of the rivers in the Heart of Borneo.”
“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.”
Globally, there are around 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, with the majority in the coastal waters of Bangladesh.
The remaining population is scattered throughout Southeast Asia and can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the northeastern coast of Australia.
Irrawaddy dolphins are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, but in some areas – including the Mekong River, the Ayeyawardi River, and the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan – the species is listed as critically endangered.