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Irrawaddy Dolphins

Orcaella brevirostris


Slate grey and lighter underside, slightly larger than a human, head more squared than sleek, brevirostris means short-beaked and it has really a flat face compared to other dolphins. Closely related to Orcas or Killer whales.


Actually an oceanic species, it is seen here in the Mekong River near Kratie, Cambodia, a fairly reliable place to take a small quiet boat out in the river and watch them. You will see them more than you will get photos of them as they do not stay out of the water for long. Photo 2 shows the width of the Mekong at this area. It is muddy after heavy rains the day and night before. The boatman said this is why there were so many dolphins that day-the rain the previous day.


Very quiet with little splashing at all when they surface. Do not follow boats or ride bow waves as some species of dolphin do.

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Thanks, Mark. Yes, Vulnerable. It was wonderful to see about a dozen of them here this day when I was worried we wouldn't see any! Here is another reference for those who want to learn more about these gentle creatures:
Our boatman was a native Khmer and so good. He only turned the motor on to get out into the current and then we just drifted along with the dolphins. Perfect moments.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Nice spotting. Vulnerable in IUCN red list.

Spotted by

Kratie, Cambodia

Spotted on Dec 3, 2014
Submitted on Jan 14, 2015

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