The earliest reference to dolphins in the Ayeyarwady River is from the New T’ang History (Chinese text from ‘about 800 A.D.’ as cited in Luce 1966), which mentions trade in ‘river pigs’ among the Pyu people. During surveys of the Ayeyarwady River between Rangoon [Yangon] and Bhamo, Anderson (1879) observed Irrawaddy dolphins no farther downstream than Prome [Pyay] (about 360 km from the sea) during the low-water season and Yenanyoung (about 540 km from the sea) during the high-water season. Upstream, the local Shan people reported to Anderson (1879) that dolphins were never found upriver of a point 30 m above Bhamo, where the course of the river was interrupted by rocks. They called the site Labine, or "Dolphin Point." Anderson (1879) also reported that the dolphins ascended larger tributaries, such as the Taping, Khyendwen [Chindwin] and Shuaylee [Shweli], when these were in flood. (See Figure 1 in the attached PDF for a map of the Ayeyarwady River and the locations used to describe the distribution of the dolphin).
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