The pink dolphin has been largely overlooked by conservation groups, despite so many issues pushing them towards extinction. Groundbreaking movie “The Cove” shone the spotlight on Taiji and the dolphin captivity industry. Endangered dolphins like the Vaquita in Mexico and Maui Dolphin in New Zealand both have ongoing awareness campaigns. The pink dolphin by contrast has received little in the way of attention.
Over the last few months we’ve been putting together a campaign to try and change this, and we’re nearly at the stage of locking in some dates and plans. We’ll get back to you shortly with details… and there will be opportunities for some volunteers on this campaign. To kick things off though, here are a few details we’ve discovered since starting this.
Pink dolphin (also called Boto, Bufeo, or Amazon River Dolphin) are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Despite being widespread geographically, numbers have continued to drop due to a number of factors. These include:
1) They are regularly hunted and killed, and the flesh used for bait to catch a form of catfish called “piracatinga”. According to local fishermen, the dolphin is by far the best bait to use.
2) Over fishing has caused increased competition between dolphin and fishermen. Dolphin will often target fish in nets, sometimes getting entangled and dying. Dolphin can also cause damage to the fishing gear, upsetting fishermen who see them as a pest to be eradicated.
3) Hydro dams along rivers such as the Amazon have locked the dolphin into smaller areas, limiting breeding options and reducing their ability to seasonally migrate as conditions vary.
4) Habitat loss due to deforestation, especially along the Amazon. Also increased populations of man into what historically have been dense jungles further reduces suitable habitat where the dolphin may live.
5) There are various superstitious surrounding the dolphin which can see them hunted. One claims the pink dolphin turn into a rapist at night. Another one says dolphin parts such as the eyes and genitalia have special or magical properties.
The end result of all this is the pink dolphin has many threats and few friends right now. We’re working hard on a campaign to bring some attention to these amazing animals. Will keep ya posted once we get more details on the upcoming campaign anyway.
Captain Pete Bethune