Dolphin in the City: Protecting Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins in Can Gio, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2 Feb 2023 Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam, Asia Cetaceans | Mammals

Tam Phan

The project aims to protect endangered Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) in Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (CGMBR), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, by gathering robust ecological data and improving public awareness of the species. The dolphin population in CGMBR inhabits an estuarine ecosystem that connects to the most industrial areas in Vietnam. Their habitat is subjected to fisheries activities, heavy maritime traffic, and future large-scale landscape modification activities (e.g., sea reclamation).

A mother-calf pair in Can Gio area. © Phan Minh Tam.

A mother-calf pair in Can Gio area. © Phan Minh Tam.

The project’s activities will consolidate data on the dolphin population and their habitat to direct conservation management actions and raise public awareness and empathy for the species. We will conduct boat-based surveys to collect ecological data on the Irrawaddy Dolphin population in CGMBR. In each survey, photo-identification (photo-ID) and focal group follow will be conducted concurrently by the survey team. These surveys will generate a baseline on dolphins’ distribution, movement, and abundance in Can Gio area. These data will inform all conservation efforts that target this rare population and their habitat. In addition to ecological surveys and data analysis, our team will also carry out various grassroots conservation activities such as workshops for local stakeholders, educational billboard and posters, dolphin exhibition and social media campaigns. Those activities aim to raise awareness, prides, and compassions of local communities (in Can Gio district and in Ho Chi Minh City) toward the Irrawaddy dolphins in Can Gio.

The project results will fill in the gaps of information on the population, distribution, and ecology of the Irrawaddy Dolphin in CGMBR. For conservation and management, the project’s findings will directly contribute to the implementation of the Vietnamese Biodiversity Law (2008) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1993). By promoting the Irrawaddy dolphin as the flagship species, our project will hopefully attract increased stakeholder engagement (e.g., local authorities, local and international NGOs) to work together to establish the long-term conservation strategies for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in the Can Gio area.

Header: Socializing behaviors of Irrawaddy dolphins.

Project Updates

Download Reports