The Irrawaddy Dolphin is one of the most sought after animals in Southeast Asia. Their natural habitat includes the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (obviously the dolphin is named after it), the Mekong River and around the islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra. These mammals are sometimes called the Irrawaddy River Dolphin, but they are not really river dolphins. They live in brackish oceanic waters near coasts and river mouths.

Why are they so elusive? Well, they are considered a vulnerable species, almost on the brink of extinction. Due to their habitats around coastlines, they bear the wrong end of many human activities such as being drowned in gillnets due to accidental capture. Many fishermen are sympathetic to these creatures, but cannot abandon their way of living. Conservation efforts are underway to try and get these animals back on their fins and roaming around the waters of Southeast Asia in abundant numbers again.

Just because they are rare doesn’t mean you should give up on spotting one. Whenever you are cruising along the Irrawaddy or Mekong Rivers, just be sure to have your camera by your side. Spotting these elusive mammals or taking a picture of them is more than enough to make your day.