An Irrawaddy dolphin calf who was rescued in Thailand and nursed day and night for weeks has died, despite the efforts of dozens of vets and volunteers.
The dolphin was nicknamed Paradon, which roughly translates as “brotherly burden”, when he was found drowning in a tidal pool by fishermen on 22 July.
He was cared for by dozens of people at the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center in Rayong in the Gulf of Thailand.
“We were quite shocked because it happened so fast. Paradon had made much improvement since we have found him,” Oranee Jongkolpath, a veterinarian at the center, said.
“He started to get sick again on August 31, having difficulty breathing and suffering from diarrhoea. He deteriorated so quickly, and he died that night.”
Ms Jongkolpath, together with her colleagues and volunteers, had been providing 24-hour watch over the injured calf.
‘He deteriorated so quickly’
The team looking after Paradon said an initial examination found infection in his lungs, but are waiting for full laboratory results to determine the exact cause of death.
“While we can’t save Paradon’s life, we have learned a lot from it. Not many people have cared for Irrawaddy dolphins, let alone a calf. Everything we have done in a month of caring for him are all lessons learned for us, from its behaviour, its food intake, and even its sickness,” said Ms Jongkolpath.
Irrawaddy dolphins, considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are found in the shallow coastal waters of South and Southeast Asia and in three rivers in Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Their survival is threatened by habitat loss, pollution and fishing, when dolphins are caught unintentionally with other species.
Officials from the marine research center believe around 400 Irrawaddy dolphins remain along Thailand’s eastern coast bordering Cambodia.