DEC 05, 2017 9:22 AM PST

Conservationists Tag Amazon River Dolphins for the First Time

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

GPS-enabled tracking devices are one of the most popular ways for animal conservationists to keep tabs on wild animal populations, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently collaborated with its partners to deploy these devices on 11 Amazon-based river dolphins.

Conservationists care for a river dolphin in Brazil after tagging it with a geolocator.

Image Credit: Clovis Fabiano / WWF-Brazil

Considered “threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these river dolphins reside throughout Bolivia, Brazil, and Columbia. While they can be tough to spot by the naked eye, these satellite-based tracking technologies will enable researchers to view the creatures on a map in real time.

Researchers resort to small and non-invasive geotags to improve their understanding of wild animals’ behavioral and migratory patterns, and the same holds true for these river dolphins. On the other hand, experts also wish to identify which issues threaten their existence.

“Satellite tracking will help us better understand the lives of this iconic Amazonian species more than ever before, helping to transform our approach to protecting them and the entire ecosystem,” noted WWF conservation specialist Marcelo Oliveira.

“Tagging these dolphins is the start of a new era for our work because we will finally be able to map where they go when they disappear from sight.”

Related: Poachers could potentially hijack animal tracking equipment and use it for malicious purposes

After deploying the tags, the researchers collected biological samples for analysis that might hold clues about the animals’ health. Comparisons to future samples will enable the researchers to monitor health fluctuations over time.

Given how little we know about Amazon-based river dolphins today, these tracking devices should bring us one step closer to answering many of the questions we still have about them. More importantly, it could help conservationists discover new ways to mitigate threats and enable the species to thrive in an increasingly challenging environment.

"We who live in the Amazon know that our environment is facing growing and unprecedented threats and that our future is linked to the future of dolphins,” said Fernando Trujillo from Fundación Omacha, a Colombian research partner.

“This tagging project is critical because it will generate information that will enable governments across the region to target resources to protect dolphins and their habitats, which so many other species and communities also depend on."

Related: Can dogs' noses help us with ongoing conservation efforts?

It's too early to tell as of now, but if the WWF feels like the data helps the cause, they could return to the site to tag additional dolphins and expand their limited database. It should be interesting to see how this all pans out in the end.

Source: WWF

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
Study Confirms Nutrient Transport in Pregnant Male Seahorses
AUG 13, 2020
Study Confirms Nutrient Transport in Pregnant Male Seahorses
Seahorses are some of the most extraordinary fish in the ocean, and one of their most noteworthy features is male pregna ...
AUG 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Growing Cannabis Indoors is Not Eco Friendly
AUG 21, 2020
Growing Cannabis Indoors is Not Eco Friendly
Indoor cannabis cultivation is considered to produce the highest quality cannabis available, but the elephant in the roo ...
OCT 25, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
A Purr-fect Domestic Cat Genome
OCT 25, 2020
A Purr-fect Domestic Cat Genome
There are thought to be more than 94 million cats in the US alone. Researchers have now improved the reference genome se ...
OCT 26, 2020
Microbiology
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
OCT 26, 2020
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
Trees rely on a network of fungal friends for good health. Communities of trees can share nutrients and other essentail ...
NOV 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
NOV 04, 2020
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
Voeltzkow’s chameleon was recently rediscovered after disappearing for more than 100 years. According to an articl ...
NOV 30, 2020
Plants & Animals
How to Help Plants Thrive While Reducing Fertilizer Use
NOV 30, 2020
How to Help Plants Thrive While Reducing Fertilizer Use
Soil helps provide plants with some of the nutrients they need, like phosphorous. Fertilizers may include phosphorous, w ...
Loading Comments...