PHNOM PENH, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Two newborn Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin calves have been spotted in the Mekong Flooded Forest Landscape in Cambodia's Kratie province, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dolphin habitats are in a protected area along the Mekong River in eastern Kratie and northern Stung Treng provinces.
The first calf, believed to be two or three weeks old, was spotted on Aug. 11 and the second one, thought to be only a few days old, was sighted on Aug. 13 by locals, the statement said.
During the period, Jan.-Aug. 2017, two dolphins died and eight dolphin births have been recorded, it said.
"This is a high achievement compared to the same period last year (Jan.-Aug. 2016), when four dolphins died and only four were born," the statement said. "More than ever, there is hope to believe it is possible to reverse the trend of the Mekong Dolphin decline."
WWF-Cambodia Country Director Seng Teak said he was so happy to hear about the successful recruitment of the two new calves into the population.
"Without our dedicated river guards and tireless field work, we would not be able to welcome these new-borns," he said.
The biggest threats to the Mekong dolphins, especially the calves, are illegal fishing practices, declining water levels, river pollution, and new proposed hydropower dams on the Mekong mainstream, the statement said.
The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins have been listed as critically endangered on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species since 2004. WWF estimated that there are only 80 adults left in the Cambodian stretch of Mekong River.