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Volunteers and 24/7 care nurse tiny Thai dolphin back to health

Irrawaddy Dolphin
Paradon Irrawaddy Dolphin in Thailand

An Irrawaddy dolphin calf, found stuck in a tidal pool off the Gulf of Thailand coast of Rayong in the east of Thailand, is slowly recovering with the 24/7 care of Thailand’s Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre.

The young dolphin was found by fishermen on July 22. With his weakened condition he wasn’t expected to live. But just over a month later, the youngster is doing well but still a long way from being able to fend for himself again.

Now named Paradon, he has his own team of volunteers and expert veterinary staff taking shifts to make sure he’s being observed at all times.

One of the attending vets, Thanaphan Chomchuen, told Associated Press that “…chances that these dolphins would survive are normally very, very slim. But we gave him our best try on that day”.

Paradon is believed to be between 4 – 6 months in age and can swim now with no signs of infection. He was only 138 centimetres long and around 27 kilograms when he was found

“He’s still weak and doesn’t take enough milk despite the team’s efforts to feed him every 20 minutes or so.”

One of Paradon’s volunteer team says he doesn’t eat as much as everyone is hoping “but rather just wants to play”.

“When you invest your time, physical effort, mental attention… to be a volunteer, of course you wish that he would grow strong and survive.”

Irrawaddy dolphins are found in the shallow coastal waters of South and Southeast Asia and in three rivers in Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin found in scattered subpopulations near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia.

It closely resembles the Australian snubfin dolphin, which was not described as a separate species until 2005. It has a slate blue to a slate grey colour.

Although found in much of the riverine and marine zones of South and Southeast Asia, the only concentrated lagoon populations are found in Chilika Lake in Odisha, India and Songkhla Lake in southern Thailand – Wikipedia

Officials from the marine research centre in Rayong believe there are only around 400 Irrawaddy dolphins remaining along Thailand’s eastern coast, near the border of Cambodia, and are considered a vulnerable species by International Union for Conservation of Nature.

SOURCE: The Guardian

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