Amazon’s Freshwater Dolphins Are in Danger of Extinction

Environmental defenders requested that the authorities enforce the prohibition of killing dolphins.

10 December 2020
Photo: Twitter/ @whalesorg

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the “Tucuxi dolphin” (Sotalia fluviatilis), which lives in the Amazon watershed, to the “Red List” of endangered animals.

This species of dolphin has been greatly affected by accidental mortality caused by fishing equipment, dams, and pollution.

Because of the highly endangered situation that freshwater dolphins face, the IUCN asked the Amazonian population not to use “gill nets,” which are vertical panels of netting that hang from a line with regularly spaced floaters that hold the line on the surface of the water.

This international environmental institution also requested that the authorities of the Amazonian countries enforce the prohibition of killing dolphins.

In the new Red List published on Thursday, the IUCN placed 31 species in the category of extinct species. Among them are 17 species of fish from Lake Lanao in the Philippines, the so-called “lost shark”, a rare species that had not been seen since 1934, and some types of frogs from Central America.

The IUCN Red List considers that an animal or plant species is in danger of extinction when the number of specimens in the wild has decreased so much that it is at “extremely high risk of extinction”.

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There are only five species of freshwater cetaceans: the Amazon pink dolphins, the Tucuxi, the South Asian and Irrawaddy dolphins, and the Yangtze finless porpoise.

All five species face many of the same threats, including poorly-planned hydropower dams, pollution, and accidental bycatch,” the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) recalled.

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