Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dolphins and turtles - helping protect wildlife around Kratie, Cambodia

Wildlife watching is a great but controversial activity. Observing shouldn't mean disturbing or harming wildlife. Our excursion around Kratie included dolphin watching and a visit to the Turtle Conservation Center in Sambor.

I was first very doubtful about the dolphin watching activity that was supposed to let us see the very rare Irrawaddy dolphins. Now I warmly recommend it for three main reasons:
- The earned money is partly used to help protect the endangered species. The rate is 7USD per adult and 4USD per child (babies go for free); it is definitely well-spent money.
- To my surprise, we actually saw dolphins, and we saw plenty of them. Even my baby could spot a few.
- The boat drivers are very respectful of the fauna. They drive slowly when nearing the observation area, paddle the few last meters to the zone and never go too close to the animals.

The Mekong Turtle Conservation Center is a very tiny place but the visit is worth the 3USD (1.5 for children) entrance fee. Besides a selection of Asian and American turtles, the visit gives you the opportunity to see specimens of the rare Cantor soft shell turtles. The center breeds and releases hatchlings every year. More information: http://mekongturtle.com/