Researchers have found some disturbing evidence of foul play against two freshwater dolphin species in the Amazon River.
During a 19-day expedition, Sea Shepherd and Brazil’s National Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA) spotted 3,200 Tucuxi River Dolphins and 1,400 Amazon River Dolphins, but they also found three dead tucuxis with signs of foul play.
The first, an adult, had a net mark around his neck and a 3-inch/76mm puncture wound below the pectoral fin that researchers believe was caused by a harpoon. The second juvenile dolphin had a possible harpoon wound near his tail, while the third victim had no discernible signs of injury or illness.
Data gathered during the expedition reveals that the density of river dolphins varies significantly across the study sites, with a higher number of sightings occurring in protected regions.
INPA Research Leader Dr. Sannie Brum commented on the expedition:
“The survey was a great success. It is an important step for us to be able to map the population health of these species in the long term, and in a wider area: this reading is a key piece for us to know the conservation status of these species. You can only protect what you know.”
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