“We were quite shocked because it happened so quickly. Paradon has come a long way since we found it,” said Oranee Jongkolpath, a veterinarian at the center.
“He started falling ill again on August 31, having difficulty breathing and suffering from diarrhoea. He deteriorated so quickly and he died that night.
Oranee, along with his colleagues and volunteers, had provided 24-hour surveillance on the injured calf.
The team caring for Paradon said an initial examination revealed an infection in his lungs, but are awaiting full lab results to determine the exact cause of death.
“Although we couldn’t save Paradon’s life, we learned a lot. Few people have cared for Irrawaddy dolphins, let alone a calf. Everything we have done in a month of caring for him are lessons learned for us, from his behavior, his food intake and even his illness,” Oranee said.
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, in Cambodia and Indonesia. Their survival is threatened by habitat loss, pollution and fishing, when dolphins are unwittingly caught with other species.
Marine research center officials estimate that there are around 400 Irrawaddy dolphins left along the country’s east coast on the border with Cambodia.