Irrawaddy Dolphins

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About fifteen to twenty of these rare freshwater dolphins make their home on a beautiful stretch of the Mekong River near a small set of rapids. Around 14 miles north of Kratie, at the village of Kampi, the swirling waters of the Mekong are considered one of the best places in the world to see the critically endangered Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin.

When they make upward arches,they break the surface of the water – but they are not jumpers like their sea-faring relatives. They are also quite a bit shyer as well, but with good reason as they have been hunted and killed by fishermen in the past. The hope is that their numbers will slowly increase, as more fishermen in the area are educated and can see the benefits of conservation.

They are most active in the early morning hours (around 6 am) or the late afternoon/early evening. Whatever time of day you chose to visit, we hire out a small towboat to get on the river for a closer look.

The latest population is estimated between 64 and 76 members (2008 figures). The Irrawaddy dolphin is identified by a bulging forehead, a short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of each jaw. The pectoral fin is broadly triangular. There is a small dorsal fin, on the posterior end of the back.

As is always the case with wildlife, there is no guarantee you will see dolphines.

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