AWF Special Project: Pink Dolphins, Venezuela
Three weeks May- June 2013
Human activity is the main threat to the Amazon River dolphin. Although these dolphins have long been respected and unharmed because of the local belief that they have magical powers, these beliefs are changing. Some humans see them as competition and kill them so they will not have to share the river’s fish. The dolphins often become tangled in the nets of fishermen and die. Additionally, the building of hydroelectric dams in South American rivers, pollution, the loss of habitat and decrease in food sources, all threaten this unique species of dolphin.
Extensive myths and legends, and local belief in their magical powers, has kept them safe for generations. For some it is bad luck to kill them and don’t eat them as they believe they used to be humans and can transform back into human form. Some even believe they turn into human form at night seducing and impregnating their women folk. Some Indian communities revere them, regarding them as sacred, even divine beings.
The pink dolphin faces extinction across its ranges with threats ranging from agriculture, industry, dam building and mining; fishing nets particularly gill nets used in commercial fishing are especially dangerous to them.
Venezuela claims Andean peaks; the longest stretch of Caribbean coastline to be found in any single nation; tranquil offshore islands set amid turquoise seas; wetlands teeming with caimans, capybaras, piranhas and anacondas; the steamy Amazon; and rolling savanna punctuated by flat-topped mountains called tepuis. And, the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls, plummets 979m.
See the full photo gallery, click here