April 2, 2009

Scientists find sanctuary of rare dolphin

Researchers report finding a stronghold for the Irrawaddy, one of the world's rarest freshwater dolphins, deep in the Bangladesh jungles.

Scientists counted nearly 6,000 of the dolphins in the South Asian country's Sundarbans mangrove forest adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a release.

Before the find by the Wildlife Conservation Society there were only a few hundred of the Irrawaddy believed alive.

This discovery gives us great hope that there is a future for Irrawaddy dolphins, said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Brian D. Smith, who led the study.

Irrawaddy dolphins frequent large rivers, estuaries and freshwater lagoons in South and Southeast Asia. They are related to orcas, also known as killer whales, growing to 8 feet long.