Save River Dolphins on #GivingTuesday

Our rivers – many now dammed, polluted, and diverted – are in critical need of our protection and support. Today on Giving Tuesday, help us honor the gift of freshwater. Make a special donation to help protect rivers and the life that depends on them.

When we protect rivers, we stand by the millions of local and indigenous peoples who depend on rivers for their cultural survival and livelihoods, and we save habitat for endangered freshwater species like the Mekong dolphin. 

For centuries, Mekong River communities cherished a special relationship with this aquatic mammal. In Sambor, Cambodia, Saron, a 60-year old fisherman recalled how dolphins once saved his uncle’s life after his boat capsized:

“One cool morning, Uncle Somnang was casting his net when a wave knocked him off balance and into the river. He struggled to right his overturned boat, but was quickly exhausted by the swift current. Suddenly, he felt a surge from below. A grey river dolphin appeared, helped him to right his boat, and gently nudged him back aboard.”

“In the past there were so many river dolphins,” added Saron’s wife Pin, “they would startle us by jumping up along both sides of our fishing boats. They were just coming up to greet us and smile at us.” 

Today, only 80 of these friendly river dolphins remain. The proposed Sambor Dam on the Mekong would lead to the extinction of the remaining dolphin population. Large dams alter habitat size and water flow, and block migration to spawning grounds. The use of explosives to tear apart riverbeds and banks during dam construction destroys dolphins’ highly sensitive hearing structures. 

Sambor’s residents worry that their children and grandchildren will only know of dolphins as mythical creatures of the past. Together with International Rivers’ Southeast Asia team, they are pressuring the Cambodian and Thai governments to stop the Don Sahong Dam, turn to more sustainable energy alternatives, and lead the way for river stewardship by protecting the habitat of the Mekong dolphin.

Help us defend the endangered Mekong river dolphin. We need your support to ensure that this legendary species – and many others whose rivers are threatened – has a chance of survival.

Thank you for standing with us to protect our rivers. We greatly appreciate your support!

Monday, November 27, 2017