Save Bottlenose Dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins and 37 other species of these highly intelligent mammals face potential extinction. Many dolphins — including pink dolphins, black dolphins, Amazon River dolphins, and Yangtze River dolphins — are critically or seriously endangered, or possibly already extinct. For instance, after an intensive search in 2006 for the Yangtze River dolphin, experts announced that the species was likely extinct.
Every year, humans kill tens of thousands of bottlenose dolphins or damage their habitats. Any detrimental impact to their environment can greatly jeopardize their survival.
Perhaps the greatest threat to bottlenose dolphins is contamination of their habitat: oceans, seas, and rivers. Pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, and other industrial and agricultural pollutants that do not break down in the environment or that remain in the waterways for decades are dramatically reducing dolphin populations, as all dolphins build up unusually high levels of contaminants. In addition, river and marine dolphins frequently die when they collide with boats, while many dolphins also succumb after swallowing debris, including nets, balls, and plastics.
A fishing technique called purse-seining, in which huge nylon nets up to one mile long are used to catch yellowfin tuna, causes the death of about 20,000 dolphins per year, as the dolphins and tuna often swim together and the dolphins are crushed or drown when the nets are brought in.
The use of driftnets (banned in 1993 but still used illegally) and gill nets (still legal) kills more bottlenose dolphins each year than any other fishing method. Dolphins are also hunted for food, oil, and other uses. In Chile, for example, the endangered black dolphin is hunted to provide bait for king crab, and Turkish fishermen kill dolphins for oil and chicken feed. Japan is believed to be the largest consumer of dolphin meat and also engages in dolphin drive hunts during which bottlenose and other types of dolphins are captured and killed.
The gentle nature of bottlenose dolphins and other species makes working with them and preserving their habitats an especially rewarding experience. Several conservation groups are ready to help you share that experience.
I Did This!
The widespread distribution of bottlenose and other dolphin species, combined with the energy of dedicated researchers and volunteers around the world who are concerned about their survival, means there are many opportunities to make a difference for dolphins and their ecosystems. Here are some of them:
Make a Difference
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