The Khmer Rogue were responsible for such widespread destruction. They not only destroyed temples and homes and killed millions of people, but they were directly or indirectly involved in decimating natural resources and environments. The Irrawaddy river dolphins were captured and killed for the oils and fats in the skin and were victim to the aggressive fishing techniques used in desperation by locals who couldn’t access food during war time.
When tourism first began to reach this area, there were only around 70 dolphins in this stretch of the river, with family pods living in distinct areas. When I visited, this has now risen to around 100. Whilst fishing is still an important income for many in this area, the impact of tourism is becoming an ever increasing revenue. Like me, tourists visit this area with a hope of seeing these rare creatures, encouraging rules to be put in place for the protection of the dolphins.
Happiness to me is sitting in a kayak, whether in drizzly Norfolk or in the beating sun of Cambodia. Add in seeing rare wildlife and a smug feeling of doing good by spending my tourist dollars on this worthwhile activity and I couldn’t be more pleased.