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Conservation Status of Marine Mammals in Cambodian Waters, Including Seven New Cetacean Records of Occurrence
Abstract: The first dedicated, boat-based marine mammal surveys in Cambodian coastal waters were conducted over seven discrete survey periods, spanning February to September 2001. These surveys covered the majority of Cambodian coastal waters, in addition to the main offshore islands. As a result of these surveys, ten marine mammal species have now been confirmed to occur in Cambodian waters. Six of these, the false killer whale, a long-beaked form of common dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, dwarf spinner dolphin, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, constitute new country records for Cambodia. Additionally, a short-finned pilot whale was found live-stranded, constituting a further new country record. These initial results indicate that the current status of marine mammals in Cambodian waters is encouraging, both in terms of species diversity and abundance. Cambodian waters appear to support regionally, if not globally, significant populations of several of these species. The dugong is almost certainly the most highly threatened marine mammal in the region. Studies to date have provided important baseline knowledge regarding the status, distribution, and important areas of occurrence for marine mammals in Cambodia. It is now essential that conservation and management strategies are developed and implemented. Public education and awareness and community-based management programs, as well as stricter laws, regulations, and adequate enforcement will be essential to conserving the remaining marine mammal populations and ensuring their survival in Cambodian coastal waters.
Key Words: CETACEAN; DUGONG; CONSERVATION; MANAGEMENT; CAMBODIA; INDO-CHINA
Document Type: Research article
Page Numbers: 368 – 379