Pink Dolphin

NAME

TITLE
Love The Pink Dolphin

GENDER
Male

AGE
11

FOUND
South America

CONSERVATION STATUS
Endangered

This pink boy is 11 years old and loves swimming around his jungle river in the Amazon. He is very playful and loves to explore everything in his watery kingdom. There are so many interesting things to see! But he has been coming into trouble. The water and fish of his home are becoming polluted and he has to be careful when he hunts his favourite catfish dinner. Hunters want them too and they’re not afraid to kill him if he gets in their way.

Dolphins are one of the oldest creatures found in the world and are part of the cetacean family, which includes whales and porpoises. The Amazon River dolphin, also known as the pink dolphin or boto, is a charismatic creature found throughout most of the Amazon river as well as the Orinoco river basins. They are classified as a species of toothed whale and are the biggest of all river dolphins. They are best known for being pink in colour but they vary from grey to pink depending on their age as well as other reasons that aren’t agreed upon. Nobody knows why they take on this pink hue but it could have something to do with the temperature of the water, repeated abrasions of their skin, or perhaps because of the red mud on the riverbed. Really, nobody knows for sure.

Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures. Studies have shown that they have an awareness of themselves, the different parts of their body, and their environment. They are also known to feel emotions and are capable of abstract thought. These clever creatures also use a very special way of seeing in their environment, in the case of the pink dolphin, a very murky place. Using echolocation they are able to tell where different things are. By making noises such as clicks and whistles, they listen to how the sound bounces off the objects in their surroundings. This is particularly difficult for river dolphins. There are a lot more echoes in the shallow waters of the river, filled with things like tree roots, compared to the emptiness of the open ocean.

Pink dolphins give birth in the flooding season of the Amazon river which is between May and June. This gives an advantage to the mother and her babies who will stay in the swollen rivers much longer than the males. When the water levels eventually lower there is an abundance of food, the perfect opportunity for the baby dolphin and mum to feast and build up their strength. The baby will suckle on its mother’s milk for the first year so it is important that there is plenty of food for mum to sustain the production of milk. Young dolphins start out their life a dark grey colour, turning light grey in adolescence. It takes 2-3 years until the babies are independent adults. This extended time together gives the little dolphin all the skills they need to take on the river as a successful dolphin.

Pink dolphins are listed as endangered but it is not known how many there are left. They face many threats. The rivers are becoming contaminated with dangerous substances such as mercury, a result of illegal mining in the area. The mercury gets into the fish that they eat, poisoning them in return. They are also at risk from fishing. They can get caught up in fishing gear but they are also deliberately hunted and killed. They are seen as competition for the catfish the fisherman are after, so to increase their success rate they will kill the dolphins. The dolphins are also killed and used as bait for Piracatinga fishery, an industry that fetches the fishermen much higher prices, which has created a market for dolphin carcasses. Some work for their protection has gone into ensuring better standards in fishing and it is now illegal to kill the pink dolphin. In 2012 it was declared a national treasure. But there is still a long way to go to ensure the protection of this beautifully unusual dolphin.

To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/

SPONSORED BY
Moses Family
Evan, Kelli, Rhiannon, Dean, Rhys
Kylie & Alan

SOURCES