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Sick Irrawaddy Dolphin Recovers Gradually With Tube-Fed Milk And Help Of Numerous People

Many species on our planet are dying out due to habitat loss and human activities. This will likely result in diversity imbalance, threatening human life. Aware of the grave consequence of losing myriad species, many individuals now strive to help the poor animals that are struggling to survive.

In July 2022, a fisherman found a sick Irrawaddy dolphin calf near the coast of Thailand. The animal was so feeble that he was drowning along the tidal as he couldn’t swim. The fisherman then called marine conservationists to have instructions for looking after the calf while waiting for the rescue team.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The dolphin population has reduced significantly due to pollution, loss of habitat, and bycatching, and they are in the group of vulnerable species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Irrawaddy dolphins live in three rivers in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia. They can also be found in the shallow coastal waters of South and Southeast Asia. According to a marine research institute, about 400 Irrawaddy dolphins are on Thailand’s eastern coast, which borders Cambodia.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The rescuers then took the infant dolphin to the facility in Rayong on the Gulf of Thailand. They gave them the name Paradon, which means “brotherly burden” because saving his life was challenging for everyone involved. He was only about 27 kilos (59 pounds) and 138 centimeters long (4.5 feet) at that moment.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Luckily, many volunteers and veterinarians were willing to lend Paradon a helping hand. They kept him in a saltwater pool, treated his lung infection, and looked after him constantly.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

“We said among ourselves that the chance of him surviving was quite low, judging from his condition,” Thanaphan Chomchuen, a vet at the center, shared.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The volunteers had to feed milk to the baby via a tube before using a bottle when his condition improved. Despite being given milk every 20 minutes, Paradon was still weak without sufficient milk consumption.

“He does not eat enough but rather just wants to play. I am worried that he does not receive enough nutrition,” Thippunyar Thipjuntar, a 32-year-old volunteer said.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The woman adored the dolphin with his round face and lips resembling a grin. Hence, she was concerned about his condition: “When you invest your time, physical effort, mental attention, and money to come here to be a volunteer, of course, you wish that he would grow strong and survive.”

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Sumana Kajonwattanakul, director of the marine center asserted that Paradon could only be released to the ocean once he could forage for food by himself. Until that time, he should receive long-term care for about a year. “If we just release him when he gets better, the problem is that he won’t be able to have milk. We will have to take care of him until he has his teeth, then we must train him to eat fish, and be part of a pod. This will take quite some time,” Sumana said.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The vet Thanaphan believed that all their efforts to save Paradon were worthwhile: “If we can save one dolphin, this will help our knowledge, as there have not been many successful cases in treating this type of animal.”

“If we can save him and he survives, we will have learned so much from this. Secondly, I think by saving him, giving him a chance to live, we also raise awareness about the conservation of this species of animal, which are rare, with not many left,” he added.

Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

How do you feel when you look at Paradon’s adorable baby face? Have you ever heard of or seen an Irrawaddy dolphin around your place? Do you believe that people should be more aware of the importance of wildlife preservation? Let’s share this warmhearted story with your friends and family and wish the best for this little dolphin!

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