A nearly drowning dolphin calf in Thailand is nursed back to health | Thailand

A dolphin calf found drowning in a tidal pool off the coast of Thailand is being cared for by dozens of veterinarians and volunteers.

The Irrawaddy dolphin was spotted by a fisherman who alerted marine conservationists and provided emergency treatment until he was transported 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.

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.

“We talked among ourselves that it was very unlikely that he would survive, judging by his condition,” said Thanafan Chomchuen, a veterinarian at the center. Dolphins that are 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 lung infections, and recruited volunteers to monitor 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 the dolphin, which was 138cm long and weighed about 27kg when it was found, was still weak and not drinking enough milk despite the team’s efforts to feed it every 20 minutes. plug.

Tipnyar Tipjuntha, a 32-year-old financial adviser who is one of the many volunteers who come to Paradon’s babysitting shift, says he is attached to Paradon and can’t help but worry about his development. rice field.

“He’s not eating enough, but he just wants to play. I’m afraid he’s not getting enough nutrition,” she told the sleepy Paladon in her arms. He said while giving

“When you invest time, physical effort, mental attention and money to come here as a volunteer, of course you want him to stay strong and survive.”

Sumana Kajongwattanakul, director of the Marine Center, said the paradons will need long-term care, perhaps a year, before they are weaned from milk and ready to hunt for their own food. Told.

“If you release him when he gets better, the problem is he won’t be able to drink milk. You have to take care of him until he has teeth. You have to train, and this 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.”

“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.” .”

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