Critically endangered: Guimaras strait Irriwaddy dolphins


Bacolod City – The Irriwaddy dolphins (Orcaella Brevirostris) subpopulations in the Iloilo and Guimaras straits are listed as “critically endangered” in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species (IUCN Red List).

According to marine population assessments undertaken by the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, there are only around 10 to 13 individual dolphins left. These figures are long cry from the 21 individual dolphins identified by scientists in 2007.

The Marine Wildlife and Animal Welfare advocacy group Earth Island Institute Asia-Pacific recently launched a children’s book in Bacolod City, aimed at raising awareness about the region’s endangered Irriwaddy dolphins.

The book, written by singer-environmental campaigner Karl Ramirez, chronicles the journey of Wady, a courageous and tenacious Irriwaddy dolphin, as he struggles to rescue his home and community from extinction.

Robert Ray Medrano, Earth Island Institute-AP campaign coordinator, said the dolphin’s core population habitat is limited to the Pulupandan-Bago estuary and coastal waters of Buenavista. The other two areas with a population are in Malampaya Sound, Palawan and the coastal waters of Quezon.

Medrano said the global distribution of Irriwaddy dolphins is in the Southeast Asian countries.

Among the factors that contribute to the decline of the Irriwaddy dolphin population are marine pollution, plastic and garbage pollution, he said while some get caught in fishing equipment or get hit by boats which they are drawn to, due to their curiosity.

These dolphins have low reproductive rate.

Medrano said the government is implementing conservation measures to save the dolphins, citing for example, Bago City. The dolphins are the ones that balance the fish population by eating big fishes that eat the small ones which protect the corals. If the small fishes are gone, the corals will die. The extinction of one specie will cause a domino effect in the food chain.

Meanwhile, the Society of Marine Mammology, composed of more than 2,000 scientists from 35 countries, had written former Public Works and Highway secretary and now Senator Mark Villar way back in 2020 expressing their concern about the proposed Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridges project that may threaten the survival of a critically endangered population of Irriwaddy dolphins that resides in the region. (Chrysee Semillano via tvds photo by usls-bacolod)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here