Sunday, November 7, 2010

Drought Threatens Amazon River Dolphins

Amazon river dolphins

South America has recently witnessed a drought that has almost halved the numbers of Amazon river dolphins over the past year. A survey conducted by conservationists showed that the drought has been shifting down from the upper reaches of the Amazon River in Peru, to the Amazon Basin resulting in the downfall of the local fish population. This has led to a drop of dolphin numbers in the Peruvian Amazon by 47 percent. According to Dr. Richard Bodmar, an ecologist from University of Kent who has been working with an environmental charity called Earthwatch, the extremely low levels of water in tributaries to the river have had a major impact on the dolphin numbers. He also stated that the drought has moved further downstream with similar effects seen elsewhere in the basin. He further added, that in addition to Amazon river dolphins, the population of another unique species the grey river dolphin had plummeted to 49 percent last year. Even worse is that the drought could also have major impact on other Amazonian wildlife making its home in South America.

I feel that this is a crucial time to start helping these wild animals, who rely deeply on the river and its tributaries. The dolphins play a key role in the river ecosystem not just for other animals, but also the local people who live around the river. That is, they are important indicators of clean water that tell scientists and researchers. Without them, how will people and other animals be able to survive in the basin? I also feel that in addition to this drought, the population of the dolphin is also under threat from illegal poaching as fishermen use their meat as bait. At this time, the numbers of these aquatic mammals are critical and should receive full attention. I sure hope that something can be done to help the population of these creatures from further fluctuation. I think one reason for this drought to reach such extreme levels could be global warming (I could be wrong). But now, it appears that the clock is ticking.

View article here

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