A New Species of River Dolphin Found in Brazil
A newly discovered dolphin species has been found in the Amazon River. It was previously believed that only two species of river dolphins lived in the Amazon, but research published in the journal PLOS One has shown that there are three dolphin species.The species has been given the scientific name Inia araguaiaensis after the Araguaia River Basin where scientists discovered it. Araguaian boto will be its common name as boto is the name given to river-dwelling dolphins.
Led by Tomas Hrbek of the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, AM, Brazil, the team conducted in-depth DNA tests, and their findings indicated that the Araguaian boto had evolved separately from the previously known dolphin species and hasn't been interbreeding with them.
The Araguaian boto should immediately be given "endangered" status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is estimated that there are around 1,000 animals. Threats they face are hydroelectric dams, excessive boat traffic and pollution. Overfishing is also a threat and directly depletes their population and their food supply. These are the same issues that faced the Chinese Yangtze River Dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) or baiji. The baiji were con- sidered functionally extinct in 2006. More information on Araguaian boto may be found at the journal.
The Maui 's Dolphin - Will it Become Extinct?
Only 55 adult Maui's dolphins remain in existence. They are found in New Zealand waters and classified by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. The world's smallest and rarest dolphin species is barely hanging on. The New Zealand government announced protection for the Maui's but it is feared these measures will not stop their path to extinction.The set net protection measures were put in place by the New Zealand Government in September 2013. The government banned the use of set nets from between two and seven nautical miles from the coast between Pariokariwa Point and the Waiwhakaiho River on the Taranaki coast, a stretch of the North Island's west coast.
In the last year and a half, three international scientific bodies have repeatedly urged the New Zealand Government to protect the Maui's from extinction. Calls by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) have have not helped. SMM, the pre-eminent body of international marine mammal scientists, has issued its third appeal to the Government stating that any further fishing-related deaths cannot be tolerated if Maui's dolphins are to survive. Their letter follows the announcement of proposals to slightly increase protection for Maui's dolphins, and the death of a Maui's dolphin on September 13, 2013.
SMM President Helen Marsh acknowledged that effective protection measures will impact the local fishing industry. In a letter to New Zealand's Minister for Conservation, Professor Marsh explains that "it will be necessary to reduce the risk of Maui's dolphins being caught in nets to zero" to pull them back from the brink of extinction. "This can only be done by extending the proposed netting closures to cover the entire range of the Maui's dolphin," she adds.
Fishing with gillnets and trawling poses the most serious threat to the dolphins' survival. Forty years ago there were an estimated 1,800 Maui dolphins. Today there are just some 46 individuals aged one year and older. Because the population is so small, Maui's dolphins can only survive a single death at human hands every 10 to 23 years. But fishing alone kills about 5 Maui's dolphins each year. The new government proposals to increase protection for Maui's dolphins would extend the ban on gillnets but not on the more profitable trawl fishery in a small part of the dolphins' range.
Save The Vaquita Day - July 12, 2014
Please save this important date to help with efforts to save the vaquita, the most endangered porpoise in the world. We will provide more information as plans develop. There are an estimated 165 vaquitas remaining in the northern Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Click here for vaquita information.
In December 2013, the Monterey Bay Aquarium partnered with Save The Whales for a vaquita craft day. Children made crafts from the Anita the Vaquita coloring book.The outstanding hat above is one of the results.
Save The Whales Public Service Announcement is also being aired in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
In January 2014, Save The Whales donated 25 English and 25 Spanish vaquita coloring books and 50 Spanish vaquita brochures to the Museo de Historia y Cultura in Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California Norte, Mexico.
Every year at this time, we get urgent requests to do something about the Faroe Island pilot whale killings and Taiji Japan dolphin killings. The bloody and cruel Faroe Island killings are not only barbaric, it is a health risk to people eating the flesh of the whales because of their high mercury content. Read our Faroe Island petition
and then please sign.
Japan keeps the killings hidden from view and, in a cruel money-driven action, sells some of the captured dolphins to marine parks. Sign this petition to speak out.
The documentary Blackfish
chronicles what happens to captive orcas (the largest member of the dolphin family) when they live in marine parks.
Thank you for helping us help marine mammals.
Thanks to Japan Ambassador Caroline Kennedy for her stand about the inhumanness of the Taiji killings brought to light by the movie,The Cove.
We can only keep the pressure on to stop these killings by signing petitions, sending emails to government officials, and thanking representatives like Ms. Kennedy.
Maris Sidenstecker I
Executive Director, Save The Whales
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Voted Top-Rated NonProfit 2013