- An Irrawaddy dolphin calf called Paladon was rescued by Thai fishermen on July 22nd.
- Dozens of veterinarians and volunteers helped care for the pups at the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center.
- Workers put him in a saltwater pool, monitored him around the clock, treated him for lung infections and gave him milk.
RAYONG, THAILAND — A sick, non-swimming Irrawaddy dolphin calf was found drowning in a tidal pool off the coast of Thailand when fishermen found him.
Fishermen immediately alerted marine conservationists and advised how to provide emergency care until rescuers transported the baby to Thailand’s Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center for veterinary attention.
The baby was called Paladon because those involved knew from day one that saving his life would not be an easy task.
Considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Irrawaddy dolphin is found in the shallow coastal waters of South and Southeast Asia and three rivers in Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia. Their survival is threatened by habitat loss, pollution and illegal fishing.
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Marine Research Center officials believe there are about 400 Irrawaddy dolphins left on the country’s east coast, which borders Cambodia.
Since Paradon was discovered by a fisherman on July 22, dozens of veterinarians and volunteers have helped care for him at a center in Rayong on the Gulf of Thailand.
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“We have talked among ourselves that it is very unlikely that he will survive, judging by his condition,” Thanafan Chomchuen, a veterinarian at the center, said Friday. Dolphins that are usually stranded on the shore are usually in such terrible condition.The chances of these dolphins surviving are usually very slim.But we gave him our best that day.”
Workers put him in a saltwater pool, treated him for a sick and debilitating lung infection, and recruited volunteers to watch over him around the clock. They must put him in a tank to prevent him from drowning and give him milk, first in a tube and later in a bottle when he regains a little strength.
A staff veterinarian and one or two volunteers stay for each eight-hour shift, while other workers operate the water pumps and filters and produce milk for the calves during the day.
One month later, Paladon’s condition is improving. The calves, believed to be 4-6 months old, are now able to swim and show no signs of infection. But on July 22 he was 4.5 feet and about 59 pounds. not drinking
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Thirty-two-year-old financial advisor Thippunyar Thipjuntar is one of many volunteers who come to Paladon’s babysitting shift.
With Paladon’s round baby face and curved mouth that looked like a smile, Tipnya became attached to him and couldn’t help but worry about his growth.
“He’s not eating enough, but he just wants to play. I’m worried he’s not getting enough nutrition,” she told the Associated Press on Friday. Naturally, I hope he gets stronger and survives when he invests the time, physical effort, mental attention and money to come to.”
This sea creature once inspired a mermaid story. It is now “functionally extinct” in China.
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Marine Center Director Sumana Kajongwatanakul said the paladins will need long-term care, perhaps a year, before they are weaned from the milk and ready to hunt for their own food. rice field.
“If you let him go when he gets better, the problem is he won’t be able to drink milk. It takes a lot of time,” Sumana said.
Paladon caregivers believe that extended, tender, loving care is worth it.
“There aren’t many successful cases of treating this kind of animal, so if we can save one dolphin, this helps our knowledge,” said veterinarian Tanafan. had saved him, and had he lived, we would have learned much from this.”
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“Secondly, by saving him and giving him a chance to live, I think we can also raise awareness about the conservation of this species. This species is rare and there are very few left.” .”