I is for Irrawaddy Dolphin
The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit a 118-mile stretch of the river between Cambodia and Lao PDR and are scarce—just 92 individuals are estimated to still exist. These dolphins have a bulging forehead, short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of both jaws.
The protection of the Irrawaddy dolphin is crucial for the overall health of the Mekong River—home to an estimated 1,100 species of fish. The Irrawaddy dolphin is also regarded as a sacred animal by both Khmer and Lao people, and is an important source of income and jobs for communities involved in dolphin-watching ecotourism.