Where does the pink dolphin live?
Dolphins are aquatic mammals considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world due to their high social capacity and behaviors. Among the different types of dolphins that exist , we find the pink Amazon dolphin, boto or bufeo (Inia geoffrensis).
When young, this dolphin is gray in color, but as it ages it turns pink. It measures between 1.24 and 2.55 meters in length and weighs from 100 to 185 kg, which makes it a large animal. Now, where does the pink dolphin live ? What is its habitat? As its name suggests, the Amazon pink dolphin is found primarily in the Amazon River . It also inhabits the Orinoco River, which is why it is present in different countries, always in bodies of fresh water. If you want to know more specific information about the habitat of the pink dolphin, keep reading this article.
Distribution of the pink dolphin
The pink dolphin is distributed through the basins of two large and important rivers in South America: the Amazon and the Orinoco . Specifically, in the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. This aquatic mammal is found in practically any part of the rivers, from the deltas, in the upper areas of the rivers, to the rapids, which are impassable by boats. Among the factors that limit the movement of this dolphin we find the waterfalls, the decrease of the water and perhaps the decrease in temperatures.
Let’s get to know specific areas of the distribution of the pink dolphin, which have been reported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Starting with Brazil :
- central region.
- Araguaia-Tocantins river basin.
- Ríos das Mortes and Verde, Paranã, Vermelho, Peixe, Crixas-Açú and Água Limpa.
- Lagos dos Tigres and Rico, all in the state of Goiás. Also in Lake Montaria, in the state of Mato Grosso.
- Mangroves in the bay of Marajó.
- Rivers and tributaries of the Amazon basin in Brazil, such as Juruá, Purús, Madeira, Tapajós, Xingu, below the waterfalls of Belo Monte, Içá, Caquetá-Japurá, Negro-Branco and Trombetas.
- Along the main trunk of Madeira, above and below the Teotônio rapids.
Continuing with Bolivia , we see the pink dolphin in:
- The tributaries Beni and Orton, Iténez or Guaporé, Verde, Machupo and Iporuporé.
- Mamore Basin and its tributaries: Pirai, Grande, Ichilo, Chapare, Ibare, Matucare, Tijamuchi, Apere, Yacuma and Yata.
As for Colombia , it is located in:
- The Caquetá-Japurá river, which includes from the Araracuara rapids to the mouth of the Apaporis river, on the border with Brazil.
- The Putumayo-Içá River, from Puerto Leguizamo to the east, and into the Amazon River.
- In the Orinoco, they are found in the Meta, Arauca, Casanare, Bita, Vichada, Tomo, Tuparro, Orinoco, and Guaviare rivers, including the tributary of the Guayabero, Inírida, and Atabapo.
- It has been seen crossing the first set of rapids at Puerto Ayacucho (Atures-Río Orinoco).
In Ecuador , it is in:
- The Payamino, Napo, Pastaza, Tigre and Santiago rivers.
- The Ecuadorian Amazon, in all river systems with the exception of the Morona River.
In Peru , it is located at:
- The tributaries Ucayali and Marañón, Napo, Tigre and Pastaza.
And, finally, in Venezuela it is in:
- The Orinoco River.
- The deltas in Ciudad Bolívar, Caicara del Orinoco and near Puerto Ayacucho.
- The rivers Apure, Portuguesa, Guanare, Guaritico, Capanaparo, Cinaruco and Caura
- The Cassiquiare Canal, which connects the Orinoco with the Negro River.
Pink dolphin subspecies
The taxonomic status of the pink dolphin has been controversial, however, until now IUCN experts recognize only one species within this genus and two subspecies , the Bolivian bottlenose dolphin ( I . g . boliviensis ) and the common boto ( I . g . geoffrensis ).
The Bolivian buffalo is found in the Iténez-Guaporé, Mamoré and Río Grande rivers in Bolivia, and also in almost the entire Madeira River in Brazil. For its part, the common boto is present in the Amazon River of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, and it can also be found in the Araguaia-Tocantins River and in the Orinoco Basin of both Venezuela and Colombia.
Pink Dolphin Habitat
As we have seen, the habitat of the pink dolphin is made up of various bodies of fresh water in several of the rivers of South America. It is known that some populations remain in the same areas throughout the year, while others move according to the variations of the water, but without actually migrating, since they only take advantage of the flooding of some forests to look for food.
When it is the rainy season and the water level rises, the females and their young are found mostly in flooded forests , in lakes and also in some smaller tributaries , since in these places the young are more protected from currents and they can catch fish more easily, in addition to being nursed with peace of mind. For their part, the males choose to stay in the main tributaries of the rivers.
When the dry season arrives and the waters begin to recede, the pink dolphins move away from lakes and shallow areas, staying about 150 meters from the banks of the rivers and in places where they converge.
We can then summarize that the habitat of the pink dolphin is made up of main rivers, small channels, flooded forests, river mouths, lakes, rapids and under waterfalls.
Protected areas of the pink dolphin
The pink dolphin is classified in the endangered category , therefore, conservation actions are essential to stop this dramatic situation. Protected areas are spaces where species should be safe from various dangers caused by humans, however, unfortunately the laws and regulations that regulate these spaces are not always complied with.
Let’s get to know some of the protected areas where the pink dolphin is located. Starting with Peru , it is in:
- The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
- Nucuray river basin, in the Upper Amazon.
- Manu National Park, located in the regions of Cusco and San Martín.
In Ecuador , the protected zone is in the Yasuní National Park. In Colombia , we have the following:
- Sierra de la Macarena National Natural Park.
- Ramsar sites, such as Lake Tarapoto.
- Yaguas National Park.
In Brazil :
- Protected areas of the Araguaia River.
- Amazon River.
Finally, in Venezuela we find these areas:
- Caño Guaritico Wildlife Refuge.
- Santos Luzardo National Park.
- Amazon River.
Is it possible to spot pink dolphins?
Would you like to see the pink dolphins up close? Is this possible to do? The answer is yes . As we have seen, in the various countries where the Amazon pink dolphin is distributed, there are protected areas, and in many of them there are tourist centers that carry out tours through safe navigation areas where pink dolphins can be seen.
- Make sure that the tourist center you visit is fully respectful of the dynamics and well-being of the pink dolphins.
- Never go to resorts that keep captive dolphins.
- The encounter with the pink dolphins must be natural, that is, these mammals are not forced to do anything at any time.
- During the encounter do not feed the dolphins.
- Follow the guides’ suggestions at all times.
- Do not try to look to see the pink dolphins on your own.
- If you manage to see pink dolphins, don’t get angry, keep in mind that they are free animals with their own customs. Therefore, it is not always easy to see them. If you see them, nature will have given you a precious gift.