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Severe drought and warm waters killing dolphins in the Amazon river basin

Wednesday, October 4th 2023 - 10:47 UTC
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Low river levels during a severe drought have heated water in stretches to temperatures that are intolerable for the dolphins, experts believe Low river levels during a severe drought have heated water in stretches to temperatures that are intolerable for the dolphins, experts believe

More than a hundred dolphins have been found dead in a tributary of Amazon river in Brazil this past week. Experts suspect the deaths may have been caused by severe drought and rising heat.

At least 70 of the remains were found floating when the temperature of Lake Tefe's water reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) — more than 10 degrees higher than the usual average for this time of the year.

Low river levels during a severe drought have heated water in stretches to temperatures that are intolerable for the dolphins, experts believe. Following a decline for a few days, the water temperature again soared to 37 degrees Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) on Sunday.

The region around the lake is a key habitat for mammals and other aquatic species. Large amounts of fish have also died according to local media reports.

The scientists are working to rule out other causes like bacterial infections as they do not know with certainty that drought and heat are to blame for the rise in dolphin mortality.

”We have around 900 river dolphins and 500 Tucuxis (in the Tefe Lake) and in one week we have already lost around 120 animals between the two of them, which could represent 5% to 10% of the population,“ Miriam Marmontel, a researcher from the Mamiraua environmental institute, said.

The Amazon river dolphins — some pink in color — are a unique freshwater species found only in the rivers of South America.

A slow reproductive cycle makes their populations especially prone to threats. The freshwater dolphins, or ”Tucuxis,“ are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species.

”Ten percent is a very high percentage of loss, and the possibility that it will increase could threaten the survival of the species in Lake Tefé,” Marmontel warned.

Researchers on Monday were still recovering dead dolphins in the region where dry rivers have also impacted impoverished riverside communities, beaching their boats on the sand.

Categories: Environment, Brazil.

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  • Brasileiro

    In addition to the “summer” of the forest that occurs at this time of year, illegal miners supported by Bolsonaro and corrupt military personnel who went to live in Miami, or hide behind their pensioner daughters, caused the siltation of the headwaters of the Rio Negro.

    Imagine if the corrupt Nazi Bolsonaro had been re-elected!

    Oct 04th, 2023 - 02:13 pm -1
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