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The Decline of Amazon Dolphins

Though dolphins are commonly thought of in marine environments, dolphins have existed in freshwater environments of South America’s Amazon for centuries. Amazon river dolphins are more commonly known to most as pink dolphins. These dolphins reside in the regions of Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela. They can be found in freshwater habitats of rivers and lakes, never being found in saline bodies of water. As they have no known predators, pink dolphins were once considered one of the least endangered species of dolphins. However, due to recent developments of threats arising in the Amazon, their species has become more vulnerable and is now subjected to a higher risk.

Many risk factors that pink dolphins face are caused by human interference. The Director of the Woods Hole Research Center’s Amazon program, Dr. Daniel Nepstad, says that the Amazon is at a “tipping point.” As the Amazon faces more and more destruction and pollution, pink dolphins become increasingly prone to extinction. Their survival is threatened by manmade factors such as: hydroelectric technology, dam construction, mercury poisoning, fishing nets, pollution, habitat destruction, boats, and global warming. Dr. Daniel Nepstad further states that, “the Amazon is also one of the fastest changing ecosystems, largely as a result of human activities, including deforestation, forest fires, and, increasingly, climate change.”

Recently, over 100 dolphins were found deceased in the Amazon. As there has been an increasing drought in the area, heat levels have caused many Amazon dolphins to die. Record high temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit and above were reached. These deceased dolphins were found in Lake Tefé in northwestern Brazil. The Brazilian Ministry of Science stated that the number of deaths seen of these dolphins is unusual and caused by high temperatures. A Brazil CNN affiliate commented that, “It’s still early to determine the cause of this extreme event but according to our experts, it is certainly connected to the drought period and high temperatures in Lake Tefé, in which some points are exceeding 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit).” Furthermore, as it is Brazil’s dry season, droughts are even more detrimental and are putting dolphins at an increased risk.

Amazon dolphins, or pink dolphins, are a unique species which can only be found in the South American river and lake regions. Thus, the recent drought events have put them at a risk of being endangered and extinct. Amazon dolphins are among some of the only freshwater dolphins around the world, setting them apart from the millions of other seawater cetaceans. Recent efforts to aid the ongoing deaths of these dolphins have been executed by veterinarians and aquatic experts in an attempt to protect this vulnerable species. Despite these efforts, many challenges have been faced as the dolphins would be harmed and infected if they were brought into a new environment. Moving forward, experts predict droughts to continue in the following weeks which could potentially result in higher death rates for these pink dolphins.,to%205.3%20million%20years%20ago).

Pink River Dolphin

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