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Environment

How threatened are the river dolphins of the Amazon?

Amazon River dolphins are threatened. At the same time, we still know very little about them. A transnational research project aims to change that now.

Watch video 07:03

On the trail of the pink river dolphin

Project goal: Acquiring data about how threatened the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) is in the Amazon basin
Project implementation: Catch Amazon river dolphins throughout the Amazon basin to examine and GPS-tag them, gather data to determine how threatened they are, develop strategies to protect them
Project partners: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), research institutions and conservation authorities. Countries involved: currently Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia. In the future, all other Amazon basin-countries

Amazon river dolphins are under threat. Gold mining is pumping poisonous mercury into rivers, and giant hydropower plants fragment dolphin habitat, reducing their staple foods. Nobody knows yet what impact these threats have on the animals, since so little research has been done on the species so far. That's why the WWF and its partners in Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia want to catch river dolphins throughout the Amazon basin, to assess their health — and attach location transmitters to the animals. Project partners hope that more information about how threatened the animals are will help to develop a strategy to better protect them.

A film by Nikolaus Tarouquella-Levitan

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