Photo from Taytay Municipal Tourism.

The Municipal Tourism Office (MTO) of Taytay is all set to launch an Irrawaddy dolphin watching tour in Malampaya Sound.

The announcement was made on Friday, International Dolphin Day, emphasizing the criticality of this endangered species and its role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in Malampaya Sound.

“In the upcoming months, we will be launching an Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching Tour in Malampaya Sound to promote the conservation and protection of this Critically Endangered population,” said the Taytay Tourism Office. “By doing so, we will provide an alternative livelihood source to the local community while also raising awareness about the dolphins’ plight in the sound.”

The Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching Tour will provide visitors with a unique experience of witnessing these creatures in their natural habitat.

The tour will also support the local community by providing alternative livelihood opportunities that are sustainable and environmentally conscious.

Irrawaddy dolphins, also known as Orcaella brevirostris, are a critically endangered species of marine mammal that inhabit shallow coastal waters, rivers, estuaries, and mangrove swamps in parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia.

They are known for their distinctive rounded forehead and short beak and are often found swimming in groups of two to six individuals.

The Irrawaddy population in the Malampaya Sound is particularly important, as it is one of the last remaining populations in the Philippines.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Irrawaddy dolphin is classified as a critically endangered species due to a combination of threats, including accidental capture in fishing nets, habitat loss, pollution, and human disturbance.

Apart from the Irrawaddy dolphins, the 22,000-hectare protected body of water situated between the municipalities of Taytay and San Vicente is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to a wide variety of marine and terrestrial species, including dugongs, sea turtles, and different species of fish.

It is also an important breeding ground for several bird species, such as the Philippine cockatoo, the Palawan hornbill, and the blue-naped parrot.

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