NGOs protecting Dolphins, Seals and others

Amazon River dolphin

(inia geoffrensis)

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The Amazon River dolphin, also known as the bufeo, the pink river dolphin, or the boto, is a species of toothed whale native to South America. It is the largest species of river dolphin on the planet, as adult males can reach 185kgs/408 lbs and 2.5m/ 8.2 ft.

Dolphins are undoubtedly, truly amazing creatures, worthy of all our affection and wonder. Moreover, river dolphins are much more attractive, mysterious and charismatic. They are, however, among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates in the world.

This dolphin lives only in freshwater and is found throughout much of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela’s Amazon and Orinoco river basins.

The pink dolphin has staggering sexual dimorphism, with males being much longer and heavier than females. Compared to other toothed whales, it has a very wide diet, ranging from turtles and crabs to many different species of fish.

Sadly it is now classed as endangered, needing as much help as possible from NGOs. Under a Global Declaration for River Dolphins, countries will implement specific actions that will tackle threats to the river dolphins, improve and preserve their habitat and effectively manage a network of protected areas, among other conservation interventions.

With scientific research and responsible tourism, many people have become aware of the importance of the conservation of these animals.

In Colombia, NGOs such as Omacha and Econare are doing fabulous work to protect and conserve these incredible animals.

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Spinner dolphin (stenella longirostris)

The spinner dolphin is a small species of dolphin native to the off-shore tropical waters of the world. Since Colombia has such a large coastline, it has become a home to this famous acrobatic dolphin.

It majorly feeds on fish, shrimps and squids and will dive 200 – 300m/656 – 984’ to feed. They can spin on their lateral axis, making up to seven full rotations in one leap.

There are two recognized subspecies of spinner dolphins throughout their tropical range with Gray’s spinner dolphin (stenella longirostris longirostris) being the most common and the Eastern spinner dolphin (orientalis) which occurs in the eastern tropical Pacific, particularly off the coasts of South and Central America.

Fortunately, these wonderful dolphins are not currently deemed to be at risk.

Marine Life 

Caribbean monk seal (neomonachus tropicalis)

The Caribbean monk seal, also known as the sea wolf or the West Indian seal, was a species of seal native to the Caribbean.

The Caribbean monk seal was declared an extinct species in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species.

Its main predators were humans and sharks and it has apparently disappeared thanks to overhunting and overfishing for its food source. Other monk seal species, such as the Hawaiian monk seal and the Mediterranean monk seal, are highly endangered and could very well disappear as well in the next few decades.

Thus this demonstrates the importance of conservation programs by NGOs throughout Colombia.

West Indian manatee (trichechus manatus)

The West Indian manatee, also known as the North American manatee, is a species of manatee that can be divided into two further subspecies – the Florida or the Caribbean manatee. It is the largest member of the Sirenia order, which also includes the dugong (marine mammal).

This manatee is a herbivore that relies greatly on the vibrissae (sensitive long hairs or whiskers) covering the length of its body, as it is the only way it can feed and navigate the oceans it traverses.

Apart from the manatees in the Colombian Orinoco and Amazon drainage basins, only about 400 manatees are believed to persist in the subpopulations inhabiting the Colombian-Caribbean drainage basin, which occur principally in the river systems of the Magdalena, Sinú and Atrato rivers. 

Most conservation and population-assessment research has focused on areas of their main population density. Very little is known about manatees in areas that are not designated as protected habitat or in areas of lower manatee densities. These areas are fundamental to understanding the ecology of this endangered species and its restoration.

The manatee’s conservation status is generally regarded as highly vulnerable.

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Orca (Orcinus orca)

The orca, also known as the killer whale, is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family and is a toothed whale. It is one of the most feared marine predators on the planet with a characteristic black and white torso.

Despite its chilling reputation, the orca is not known to have killed humans. Although they live mostly in polar areas of the planet, they have been seen on a few occasions passing through the Colombian Pacific coast. Due to the enormous range they can travel, it is very difficult to estimate the global population of orcas and, therefore, their conservation status.

Orca Conservancy is a non-profit organization working on behalf of Orcinus orca, the killer whale, protecting the wild places on which it depends.

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