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Fisherfolk arrested after killing rare freshwater dolphin in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH (AFP) Jan 27, 2005
Four fisherfolk have been arrested in Cambodia after they allegedly killed a rare Irrawaddy dolphin by tossing an explosive device into a river in northeastern Mondulkiri province, officials said Thursday.

The 86-kilogram (190-pound) freshwater dolphin was found dead Saturday in the Srepok River after people exploded the device to catch fish, Sam Samat, secretary of the provincial police chief, told AFP by telephone.

"We never knew that there were Irrawaddy dolphins in Srepok River. The fishermen also did not know this kind of animal was in the river," he said, adding that three men and a woman were arrested.

A clerk at Mondulkiri Provincial Court told AFP an investigation was ongoing. Fishing with explosives is common in Cambodia.

Seng Teak, country director for the World Wide Fund for Nature, told the Cambodia Daily that the river used to be home to the Irrawaddy dolphin but they disappeared 10 to 15 years ago.

Trade in the dolphin, which is famed for its dancing mating ritual and highly prized by Asian wildlife parks, was banned in October under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Fewer than 100 of the famous pink dolphins are left in Asia's Mekong River compared to the thousands that once swam there.

Now they are mainly found in a stretch of the river from the Lao-Cambodian border to Cambodia's northeastern Kratie province.

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