Amazon Pink River Dolphin...
Legendary creature of the rainforest

Water regulates all forms of life in the Amazon rainforest. Its live force is the Amazon river, biggest on Earth by volume. See a map of the Amazon river basin here.

Everyone, plants, animals and people has to dance to the rhythm of rain - from wet to dry season.

Brazil Travel, Amazon rainforest: Amazon Pink River Dolphin
Amazon Pink River Dolphin

Among the beautiful creatures we find in this magical ecosystem that is the Amazon river, is the Amazon Pink river dolphin.

It's known under many different names...

For Guarayo Indians instead, it's known as Inia.

"There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties....
The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.

We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention and curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes a well-developed condition, in the lower animals."

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

There is a huge bundle of legends and myths surrounding the Amazon Pink river dolphin, as Amazon mythology is as vast and varying as the cultures that inhabit the Amazon rainforest.

They have survived unharmed for centuries because of the local belief that they have magical powers.

Thanks mainly to superstition they've managed to survive, but becoming an endangered species at an accelerating pace.

Locals don't kill them because they think it's very bad luck. Don't eat them, because they think dolphins used to be humans long time ago and they can turn back into humans whenever they want.

To some, the Boto turns into a handsome man at night, seduces and impregnates their wives and daughters before returning to the river and becoming Boto again. To others, they're considered evil or plain bad luck.

When women give birth to a child with Spina Bifida - birth defect that prevents the baby's skull from growing properly, leaving an opening that resembles the blow hole of dolphins - locals say that their babies are the dolphins.

Some Indian tribes regard the gray dolphin as sacred animal. Semi-divine creatures, Brujos (Spanish for Wizards) to be respected, almost reverenced.

The Amazon Pink river dolphin is on the verge of extinction in the Amazon river basin. Pollution from agriculture, industry and mining, as well as hydroelectric dams are part to blame for.

Fishing nets - particularly Gill nets used in commercial fishing - are regarded as the most dangerous to dolphins. Dolphins would tear a hole in the nets and steal all the fish, so fishermen don't regard them precisely as friends. Guess we should teach dolphins the 8th. Commandment, otherwise invite fishermen to continue their business on a different habitat.

Amazon rainforest deforestation is another evil to them, and ultimately to all of us on the Planet for that matter.

Amazon Pink river dolphin (Inia Geoffrensis) or Boto, occurs in Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Venezuela. Endemic to the Amazon river and Orinoco river systems, they come in different colors: rosy colored pink, bright pink, dull-gray pink, gray and albino...

One can't help but to admire and love the Amazon Pink river dolphin...

Update: New Species of River Dolphin found in Brazil - 2014

New species of river dolphin: Inia Araguaiaiaensis
Inia Araguaiaiaensis / Dennis Otten (Wikimedia Commons)

As early as January 22nd, 2014, a new species of river dolphin it's been described to the global community, the first of its kind for a century - 1918.

The Araguaian river dolphin - Inia Araguaiaiaensis - owes its name to the Araguaian-Tocantins river basin where it's was found.

This species is most closely related to the Amazon river dolphin - Inia geoffrensis - from which it is believed to have split about 2.08 million years.

The time of divergence corresponds to the time the Amazon and Araguaia-Tocantins river basins became separated, according to scientists from the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil.

Members of the genus are gray to pink in color and have a body length range from 1.53 to 2.6 m -5.0 to 8.5 ft. It differs from the Amazon river dolphin and also the Bolivian river dolphin - Inia Boliviensis - in the number of teeth, 24/28 versus 25/29 and 31/35, respectively, as well as differences in skull morphology.

A present time, the total population of the species is estimated to be less than 1.000 individuals, and their status considered as vulnerable or worse. Reasons for this is their habitat.

It's environment - roughly 1.500 km of the Araguaia river - is threatened by fragmentation due to development and construction of hydroelectric dams (6) in the Tocantins river, into which the Araguaia river flows.

The Araguaian river boto feeds mainly on fish.

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