Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pink Dolphins - How Did They Become Endangered?

By Charles Cridland

You may wonder how did pink dolphins become endangered. As with most every other endangered species on our fragile planet, the finger can be pointed squarely at people. Man and his impact upon the environment is directly to blame for the endangerment of this unusual and beautiful mammal.

Pink dolphins are only distantly related to their ocean going cousins and live in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest and can also be found in the Orinoco and Madeira rivers in South America and in the Pearl River in Hong Kong.

They are the friendliest of the five sub-species of dolphins and it is reported that their pink colouration is due to the large amount of crustaceans that they consume. It is reported that their numbers are decreasing at a rate of 10% per annum, with the biggest culprit being degradation and pollution of their natural environment. River contamination is one of the most serious causes, with gold mining spewing out large amounts of mercury as a by-product of the mining process. This is killing the pink dolphins at a rapid rate.

The increased traffic upon the waterways plays havoc with the pink dolphins' delicate guidance and navigation system, resulting in many accidental deaths of this magnificent creature. The construction of several dams along the waterways will result in the dolphin pods being cut off from one another, further lowering their breeding rates.

Fishing is another cause of pink dolphins becoming endangered. The dolphins become entangled in the fishermen's nets and the fishermen view them as competition for their catch. They either drown as a result of becoming entangled in the nets or they are killed by the fishermen to prevent them eating all their fish.

The reasons why pink dolphins have become endangered are many and we can only hope that man will see the error of his ways before these amazing creatures are forced into extinction.

Find out more about bottlenose dolphins and the other types of dolphins.

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