Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) strandings between 2017 and 2020 in Kep Province, Cambodia

Amy Jones, Sarah Tubbs, Rachana Thap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kep Archipelago in Cambodia supports a variety of ecologically important species, including the Endangered coastal Irrawaddy dolphin Orcaella brevirostris. This dolphin population has recently been subject to increased research, but faces growing threats from a variety of anthropogenic pressures, including pollution and illegal, unreported and unregulated fi shing activity. This study reports on the fatal strandings of ten Irrawaddy dolphins in Kep Province between 2017 and 2020 and documents the internal and external injuries recorded during rudimentary necropsies as well as the distribution, seasonality and demography of the stranding events. The strandings occurred throughout the archipelago in all seasons, although they were most prevalent during the post-monsoon season (October to November). Juveniles were most susceptible to stranding and no strandings of calves were recorded. The causes of death could not be accurately determined due to a lack of resources and trained personnel, although disease, chemical pollution and bycatch would appear to be the most likely causes of stranding. Observations of stomach contents confi rmed small bony fi sh, crustaceans and cephalopods as prey species. We recommend continual monitoring of Irrawaddy dolphin strandings along the Cambodian coastline, with a view to establishing a coastal-wide stranding network supported by adequate funding, resources, facilities and trained personnel such as marine mammal veterinarians. The information gathered from such a network would enhance understanding of the anatomy, physiology and pathology of Irrawaddy dolphins and inform conservation and management strategies for the species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages12
JournalCambodian Journal of Natural History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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