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
NOV 16, 2021
Plants & Animals
Gene-Edited Barley Can Secure the Beer Supply in a Changing Climate
NOV 16, 2021
Gene-Edited Barley Can Secure the Beer Supply in a Changing Climate
Climate change is threatening many of the world's crops, and may disrupt the growth of barley that's used to make beer.
DEC 02, 2021
Cancer
A New Method to Enhance Immunotherapy in Mouse Tumors
DEC 02, 2021
A New Method to Enhance Immunotherapy in Mouse Tumors
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common form of pancreatic cancer, accounting for about 90% of pancre ...
DEC 17, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Preference For Coffee is in the Genes, But it Goes Beyond Taste
DEC 17, 2021
A Preference For Coffee is in the Genes, But it Goes Beyond Taste
Research has indicated that a preference for certain tastes can be traced back to genes, but there's more to it than jus ...
DEC 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Deep Under Ice in the Antarctic, Life Lurks
DEC 21, 2021
Deep Under Ice in the Antarctic, Life Lurks
Scientists were surprised to find an area deep underneath Antarctica's ice shelves teeming with life. Researchers have r ...
DEC 27, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Weekend Flooding in Brazil Bursts Two Dams
DEC 27, 2021
Weekend Flooding in Brazil Bursts Two Dams
Floods this weekend caused destruction in Brazil. Two dams failed after weeks of rain in the Brazilian state of Bahia, o ...
JAN 16, 2022
Plants & Animals
Consuming More Olive Oil Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality
JAN 16, 2022
Consuming More Olive Oil Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality
It’s estimated that olive oil has been manufactured by humans for nearly 6,000 years. When it was first produced, ...
Loading Comments...