This 'smiling' dolphin is being hunted into extinction

The nearly extinct "smiling" Irrawaddy dolphins continue to get hunted in Myanmar's waters by illegal fishermen.

According to AFP, water pollution and electrofishing — where people use car batteries to shock the dolphins — are chiefly responsible for the dolphins' deaths.

SEE ALSO: This bone found in Siberia could help resurrect the woolly mammoth

The smiley dolphin can generally be found In the seas of India and northeastern Australia, but there are freshwater subpopulations in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia and Laos.

Check out the strangely adorable creatures below:

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) considers the dolphin "vulnerable" to extinction, and Burmese officials believe there are only 62 Irrawaddy dolphins in Myanmar, after a record three were killed last year.

But in neighbouring Laos, the Irrawaddy dolphins is already "functionally extinct" — when a species is no longer able to reproduce or sustain itself before ultimate extinction. Only three were counted in the wild in an October 2016 survey.

Electrofishing may be banned in Myanmar, with a fine of 200,000 kyat (USD $150) — relatively stiff in a country where average wage is roughly $5,900 per year — but poachers continue to practice it.

The dolphins are also trapped in gillnets, which are permitted in Myanmar and Laos. The WWF said the dolphins caught in gillnets often drown as a consequence.

Add that to pollution from gold mining in Kachin state, up the Irrawaddy river, and it's easy to see why the dolphins stand no chance against human activity.

BONUS: These animals are helping returning soldiers overcome their PTSD