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Dam could kill off last of Irrawaddy Dolphins

By Michelle Kapusta,

A new hydropower dam set to be built could wipe out the last of the Mekong River’s Irrawaddy Dolphins as well as many fishing stocks.

According to Time, the Laos government is planning to build a dam in the Mekong River, which stretches from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea, through China’s Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The river is also home to the Irrawaddy Dolphins, the last of about 85 left in the Mekong that are threatened because of the project.

The Bangkok Post noted last month that the World Wide Fund for Nature said the Don Sahong Dam itself would change the water quality and could kill off the population of the aquatic mammals remaining in the river.

"Plans to construct the Don Sahong dam in a channel immediately upstream from these dolphins will likely hasten their disappearance from the Mekong," said WWF Cambodia’s country director Chhith Sam Ath.

The project is planned to be built near the Cambodian border so the government there has tried to urge Lao officials not to move forward with the building plans because it is worried about the marine life.

So far though, Laos has not announced any change in plans.

 

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