The government of Myanmar has established a protected area for, of all things, a partnership between fishermen and a small, gray beakless dolphin with a knack for herding fish into nets, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Specifically, some 70 kilometers of the Ayeyarwady River have been protected to safeguard the cooperative fishery. It also supports one third of the river's population of Irrawaddy dolphins, a species that is threatened throughout much of its coastal and freshwater range.
"This is a big step forward toward saving this cetacean in the Ayeyarwady River and the fishery that benefits both humans and dolphins," said WCS researcher Brian D. Smith, who has conducted research on the species in the region for several years. "Balancing the protection of a critically endangered wildlife population with local livelihoods and preservation of a unique cultural tradition is a win-win situation for all."
The fascinating partnership involves fishermen summoning the dolphins to voluntarily herd schools of fish toward the boats and awaiting nets. With the aid of the river-dwelling dolphins, the fishermen can increase the size of their catches by threefold, and the dolphins appear to benefit by more easily preying on the cornered fish in both nets and on the muddy banks of the river.
The Irrawaddy dolphin grows to some 2 to 2.5 meters in length (6.5 to 8 feet) and frequents the coasts, estuaries, and freshwater lagoons of Southeast Asia. It is threatened throughout its range by incidental catches and in several areas by habitat degradation.
The dolphin population in the Ayeyarwady River is one of the most threatened, specifically by electrocution from illegal electric fishing and entanglement in gill nets, and from mercury poisoning and habitat loss from gold mining operations in the river. Recent surveys of the river conducted by the Department of Fisheries and WCS found that the species range had declined by some 60 percent, and that only 59 to 72 individuals remained in a region some 1000 kilometers from the sea. In response to these findings, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) designated the population as "critically endangered."
The new protected area will boost awareness about the Irrawaddy dolphin and its unique role in the river's livelihoods, as well as enforce the prohibition of electric fishing, gold mining, and other threats, and initiate a systematic monitoring program for the species. Another positive development is a recent ban on gold mining in the Ayeyarwady and a recent survey conducted by WCS and the Myanmar Department of Fisheries found that the ban had been 100% effective on eliminating this threat from the river.
"If the protected area proves successful at conserving dolphins and enhancing the livelihoods of local fishermen, it could be used as a model for extending similar protection to other river segments," added U Mya Than Tun, Senior Scientist with the Myanmar Department of Fisheries.
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences