Two ‘Magical’ Pink Dolphins Rescued From Deadly Shallow Water

by Emily Morgan
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Photo by: weerapatkiatdumrong

On Saturday, authorities rescued two adult pink dolphins after the pair got stuck in shallow water in the Bolivian Amazon.

The two mammals were found in still-water ponds cut off from the Bolivian Amazon’s Rio Grande. The discovery was made after they swam inland and the main channel dropped, according to Claudia Venegas, coordinator of the Pink Dolphin Rescue Program at the Noel Kempff Mercado Museum in Santa Cruz.

The pastel-colored creatures, one male and one female, were seen in a birthing area near the Grande River. However, reports later revealed that rescuers found no younglings nearby.

Rescuers located both pink dolphins thanks to the assistance of nearby motorboats and drones in a joint effort. They also worked with Santa Cruz government authorities, experts from the Noel Kempff Mercado museum, and veterinarians from the US’ Saint Louis Zoo.

After the rescue, officials gave the sea creatures medical exams. Officials from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) also placed trackers on the river dolphins before releasing them back into their natural habitat.

In addition, these rare species of dolphins will often seek peaceful sights such as this one to give birth.

“When the females go to give birth, they seek out quieter places and so they leave the river in search of calmer backwaters,” said Venegas. She also said that other female dolphins will often join to help raise the baby calves and teach them how to live in their environment.

Rare pink dolphins discovered in dense Bolivian Amazon

Despite the mesmerizing appearance of these river dolphins, also known as bufeos in Bolivia, experts know little about them. Sadly, environmental issues such as climate change, deforestation, water pollution, and agricultural expansion are some of their most significant threats.

Sharon Deem, a member of the rescue program, told news outlets that efforts to conserve the species highlight even larger ecological goals.

“That’s really one of the beauties of this project right now,” she said. She underscored that efforts to study and protect “this magical creature” can help environmental sustainability for all species.

Over the past decade, nearly 60 trapped pink river dolphins, scientifically known as Inia boliviensis, have been rescued, per Venega.

The dolphins’ pink complexion is due to blood vessels close to their skin. However, some of these animals are blue or even sometimes white.

While scientists have reported just a handful of fresh-water dolphin species, the pink river dolphins are the largest. They can grow up to nine feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds.

These dolphins also use echolocation for swimming through murky water. Sadly their populations have fallen in recent years, according to researchers.

The dolphins have also adapted to navigate dense tree roots that spread out underwater. When these vulnerable freshwater species breathe, they barely breach the surface, making them challenging to spot. 

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