Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm not bluffing, there are dolphins in Sarawak

Welcome to Dolphins of Sarawak. This blog focuses on the Irrawaddy dolphins of Sarawak, Malaysia. More specifically on the resident dolphin populations in the rivers and estuaries located close to Kuching, in particular those found at Salak, Santubong and Buntal.

Not much is known about Sarawak’s Irrawaddy dolphins. Yes, we know they are out there but aside from a few preliminary dolphin surveys very little research has been conducted in Sarawak. Currently there is no long-term research programme focusing on Sarawak’s Irrawaddy dolphins.

Public awareness of these fascinating marine mammals is low in Sarawak. For example, most residents of Kuching don’t know that Irrawaddy dolphins are found in a number of areas that are less than an hour’s travelling time from the city centre. And very few people are aware of the fact that the Santubong area is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to watch Irrawaddy dolphins (and a whole bunch of other wildlife too).

I’ve been fascinated with Irrawaddy dolphins every since I first spotted a group of dolphins in the Salak river estuary way back 2000. Since then I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to dolphin watching. During the dolphin watching season which runs from March to November I try to get out onto the water as much as possible.

Dolphins of Sarawak contains travel articles, fact files and random bits of information that I have collected whilst out watching dolphins or talking to the villagers that fish in the waters where Irrawaddy dolphins are commonly found. I am not a marine mammal expert so don’t expect too much ‘science’. I just want to spread the word about Sarawak’s Irrawaddy dolphins and what a unique natural resource they are for the State.

The initial posts will mostly be based on past trips and historic information. As the dolphin watching season starts I’ll add further trip reports with information on recent dolphin sightings. As a rough guide, content will be organised as follows:

Fact Files - information on Irrawaddy dolphins and where they are found in Sarawak. A bit dry but gives you the basic run down. Articles & News - travel articles, news and a few random thoughts, a more personal take on things. Sightings & Trip Reports - notes on dolphin watching trips and reported sightings. Dolphin Watching Tours - where are the best places to go and who can help organise a dolphin watching trip. Threats – Information on threats faced by Sarawak’s Irrawaddy dolphins.

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