Currently, the most immediate threat facing Irrawaddy dolphins is drowning in gill nets. The threat of gill net entanglement occurs primarily during the dry season (December to May), when dolphins settle in deep water pools. Dynamite and electric fishing occur in some important habitats. These activities are causing depletion of the dolphin's fish supply and noise from the explosions is potentially dangerous to dolphins. Due to the small population size and their narrow distribution, it is quite possible that dam construction anywhere within their habitat might critically endanger populations. Furthermore, uncontrolled tourism can harass dolphins in important habitats during the dry season and interfere with normal activities, such as feeding, resting, and socializing. Overfishing, collisions with boats and injuries from boat propellers are also threats to their survival.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix i
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered