Irrawaddy dolphins are known to inhabit only three rivers in the world – all in Southeast Asia; the Mahakam River of Kalimantan, Indonesia, the Ayeyarawaddy River of Myanmar and the Mekong River of southern Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam.

There are four other species of dolphins in the world which are only found in freshwater habitats. These dolphins are found in the Ganges and Indus rivers of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal, the Yantgze River of China and the Amazon River in south America respectively. All these dolphins live their whole life in the river system. They do not enter coastal or ocean waters and are not found anywhere else in the world.

As with the Irrawaddy dolphin, there are three other species where populations can be found in both riverine and estuarine/coastal habitats. These are the Tucuxi and Franciscana (south America) and Finless porpoise (Asia).

It is therefore very important to protect and conserve these generally small freshwater dolphin populations, as once they are gone, they will be gone forever!


You are able to see dolphins here every day during the dry season because Kampi pool is one of the largest deep water pool habitats in the upper reaches of the Mekong River – and the most important for the Irrawaddy dolphins.

Downstream of Kampi pool (towards Kratie) there are no further deep water pools. Upstream, to Sombor are a series of rapids and shallow areas which the dolphins are not able to inhabit during the dry season.

The closest group of dolphins to Kampi pool (during the dry season) can be found at Go Pidau Pool – which is approximately 15 km north of Sombor.