River Dolphins

River dolphins are some of the most amazing dolphins.
As opposed to oceanic dolphinsthey do not live out in the open oceans but instead in freshwater inland rivers, and coastal estuarine rivers. They are the most endangered dolphins because their habitat is restricted to rivers that get polluted. They also get entangled in fishing nets, are hunted and sometimes, have to compete with man for their food.

River dolphins also differ from oceanic dolphins in their appearance. They have a longer snout- sometimes up to 2 feet long! They are also less active, have smaller eyes and poor vision due to the fact that they live in muddy water. They rely on heavily on their echo-location to find their way and to find their food.

Some river dolphins can grow up to eight feet and can be all different colors, including pink!

There are only six species in the world and one of these is divided into two sub-species. Four of them live in fresh water and one in estuarine water.

They all belong to different families within the superfamily Platanistoidea.

South Asian River Dolphins

The South Asians are divided into two subspecies. Both are endangered and it has been controversial whether they should be the same, or two different species.

Indus, found only in the Indus river valley, and
found only in the Ganges river valley.
Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica)
Ganges River...
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Amazon River Dolphin

The Amazon or Pink Dolphin or Boto is restricted to fresh water and it is only found in the Amazon river basin of Puru, Brazil and Equador. It may migrate to freshwater lakes and sometimes even flooded forests and plains during the wet season.
Wild Pink Amazon...
                                              Nico Tondini
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Wild Pink Amazon River Dolphin, Amazon River, Brazil, South America

Araguaian River Dolphin

The Araguaian lives only in the Araguain River basin has been declared a new species! Unfortunately, there are only 1000-5000, which puts them on the endangered list.
Their appearance is much like the Boto and Bolivian River Dolphins with a long snout, and a large rounded forehead. The color ranges from light grey to pink with some individuals a bright pink!

Bolivian River Dolphin

The Bolivian, locally known as "Buefos," lives in the Madeira drainage above the Teotonia rapids in Bolivia. It is considered to be a separate species because it is isolated from the other Amazon Dolphins, it is a lighter color and has more teeth.


                                            La Plata Dolphin                                                   
Franciscanas Dolphins are Found in River Estuaries in South America

La Plata Dolphin leaves fresh water in the winter and moves to the coastal waters along the south-eastern coast of South America. As opposed to Boto, it is found in coastal rivers. This is the only species that can handle estuarine water. The La Plata Dolphin is small with gray skin and It is also known in Uraguay as "Franciscana."

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Chinese River Dolphin

Chinese River

The Chinese or Yangtze or Bajij, was found in Chang (Yangtze) River in eastern China. As of December 2006, this dolphin was determined to be extinct. The causes for their demise are over-fishing, damming, underwater sonar pollution, other pollution of the water and hunting.

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This is the first record of the extiction of a marine mammal in 50 years!

This will be the fate of more dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals if we don't do something to stop it.

Read more about endangered dolphins and whales.

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