Conservation Spotlight: Amazon River Dolphin


The Amazon River Dolphin, or the boto, is a type of dolphin that dwells in areas in South America. You can find this dolphin throughout the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Perú, and Venezuela. While the populations of this dolphin are abundant in many areas, there are some areas they’re considered particularly vulnerable, for various reasons. They’re a truly unique species, especially with the beautiful color of their skin. Learn more about the Amazon River Dolphin!

What are they?

This species of dolphin is much like other members of the family, except they dwell in rivers. There are other types of river dolphins located throughout the world, but they’re all different in certain ways. The most unique feature of this type of river dolphin is the pink color of their skin. The Amazon River Dolphins comes in shades of pink and gray. This unique coloration occurs because of their individual capillaries, exposure to sunlight, and diet. There are lots of other small features that also set them apart from dolphins around the world.

Why are they endangered?

Various issues contribute to the threatened status of the Amazon River Dolphin. One of the biggest issues is pollution of their rivers. Without proper regulation, large amounts of pollution enters the Amazon River, which affects all the organisms residing there. These dolphins don’t have anywhere else to go, so they’re harmed by this pollution. The contamination itself can hurt them or it can also kill off their food supply.

The boto’s diet mainly consists of catfish, which is in high demand by fisherman in the Amazon River area. As humans harvest much of the dolphins’ food source, it’s more difficult for them to survive. Some people hunt the dolphins themselves in order to use the dolphin parts as bait (often for the dolphins’ own food source - catfish). Though there are currently high numbers of this dolphin, their population has been rapidly decreasing.

How can you help?

It’s likely you haven’t heard of the Amazon River Dolphin before, however, now that you know more about this species, maybe you’re looking for some way to help them. One of the best steps you can take is simply raising awareness. Share information, on social media or with people you know, about the boto. The more people realize the impact their actions have on animals, the better chance we have of saving those animals. You can also choose to donate to causes that support helping out these animals and promoting conservation.