Trapped River Dolphins In Bolivia Rescued
WDCS collaborated with Bolivian partners, Enzo Aliaga-Rossel and Mariana Escobar to save the lives of a group of trapped Bolivian river dolphins. There were adults (male and females) juveniles and even young calves trapped in a small river cut off from the main flow. Flash flooding caused the mouth of the river they were in to be completely blocked by sediment in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, the water levels then fell rapidly and the dolphins were faced with the prospect of being stranded high and dry.
Fortunately the plight of the river dolphins was brought to WDCS’s attention and we launched an emergency rescue operation to carry them to the safety of the main river.
Moving the dolphins to the main river in the immediate area would have minimised the journey time and discomfort for the dolphins. However, there is no natural habitat left for the dolphins there as the rainforest has been cleared to make way for crops. The natural environment of rainforest and tree-lined rivers in Bolivia are some distance away and there are no surfaced roads, making it very difficult to transport the dolphins safely overland.
As you can imagine this rescue attempt was strategically very complex as the infrastructure in the region is extremely limited. The rescue team eventually caught the dolphins in nets and carried them in padded containers in an all-terrain vehicle to the larger river, where they were released.
“At first we thought there were nine dolphins trapped but in the end, we rescued 20 precious river dolphins! There were several juveniles in this river. Also two pregnant females, one of them was huge at almost two and a half meters long. Despite all the logistic issues: there was not enough food for everybody, it took more time than planned, some conditions in the river changed so we need to change the rescue plan, but we finished in a successful way!”Watch news of the rescue on YouTube