New river dolphin species in Bolivia

This is a video of a young Amazon river dolphin.

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

Rare Bolivian river dolphin is new species

By Paul Eccleston

Last Updated: 4:01pm BST 29/04/2008

A rare river dolphin has been officially classified as a new species.

The Bolivian river dolphin has been acknowledged as a separate species to the more widely-known Amazon River dolphin.

The formal announcement was made at a conservation workshop in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

The Bolivian dolphin (Inia boliviensis) was immediately adopted by the Bolivian government as a symbol of the country‘s conservation efforts.

The Bolivian species is smaller and a lighter grey in colour than the other species and has more teeth. It lives only in the Bolivian Amazon and is isolated from the other Amazon River dolphins, separated by a series of 18 rapids between Bolivia and Brazil.

The boto or Amazon pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) lives exclusively in the freshwater river systems of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. The largest of all river dolphins, botos vary from grey to pink and can even change colour, becoming pinker if very active.

Unusually for a dolphin, they have flexible necks and can turn their heads from side to side, weaving between the branches of flooded forests during the wet season.

Both species are hailed as important indicator species for the health of the entire river ecosystem, but are under serious threat from pollution and fisheries.

The adoption of the new species was welcomed by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) which warned of the threats facing endangered dolphins.

See also update here.

Cold empties Bolivian rivers of fish: here.

This video is called River Dolphins of South America.

Pink Amazon dolphins bouncing back after drought: here.

4 thoughts on “New river dolphin species in Bolivia

  1. Dolphin find may make marine history

    Victoria Laurie | August 01, 2008

    A DIMINUTIVE dolphin called “Snubby” may make history in marine science if DNA samples taken this week from animals off the northwest Kimberley coast prove they are the world’s newest dolphin species or sub-species.

    The Australian snubfin dolphin, whose short dorsal fin and rounded snout differs radically from those in other dolphin species, was discovered in 2005 insmall populations across the Top End and north Queensland coasts.

    The shy species was initially mistaken for an Irrawaddy dolphin, which is found in coastal areas and rivers in Southeast Asia. However, it was later confirmed as a new species unique to Australia, and the first new dolphin species found in the world for 50 years.

    But the “snubbies” swimming a few hundred metres offshore from Broome’s popular tourist beaches may reveal even more diversity if they are found to be a unique sub-species restricted to the Kimberley region.

    Scientists from WWF Australia, led by cetacean ecologist Deborah Thiele, spent this week collecting dolphin skin samples using darts launched from a boat, to confirm whether Kimberley snubfins differ from the other northern Australian populations.

    She said their long isolation from animals living further north and east along Australia’s coastline could have caused evolutionary differences.

    “There’s been no genetic information from the Kimberley so they may be a separate species again,” Dr Thiele said.

    “We’re doing work here and in the Northern Territory to clarify whether the dolphins we’re seeing are an Australian snubfin or another new species.”

    Such a finding would be welcome news at a time when dolphin species are declining worldwide.

    The Chinese Baiji dolphin, once found in the Yangtze River, has been declared extinct after an extensive scientific search in 2006 failed to turn up a single animal.

    Dr Thiele said the Broome expedition, while yielding the possibility of a new scientific find, had also turned up good numbers of dolphins. The team recorded the first footage of snubfin dolphins spitting into the water, a technique used to herd and capture fish prey.

    “But if the populations are very isolated, it means they need even more protection because there’s not a huge gene pool,” she said.

    Tammie Matson, WWF’s spokesperson for species conservation, said coastal and river dolphins were among the world’s most endangered mammals.,25197,24110275-5006789,00.html


  2. Biologists avert dolphin deaths

    Bolivia: Dozens of biologists and environmental activists rescued two freshwater dolphins on Sunday who had been trapped in a river by low water levels for more than a month.

    Nine of the mammals were left stranded early in July in a tributary of the Rio Grande, north of Santa Cruz, when drought caused water levels to drop.

    The rescue operation was mounted by biologists from local state-funded museums.


  3. Pingback: Anarchist Spanish civil war veteran in Bolivia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Ancient dolphin species discovery in Ecuador | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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