Are Dolphins Endangered | Why Are Dolphins Endangered

Are dolphins endangered? Probably YES! Apart from humans, dolphins have few natural predators. Certain species have almost no enemy which makes them an apex predator. Some of the most common predators are dusky shark, great white shark, tiger shark, and bull shark. Mostly the calves fall victim to these enemies. Another reason as to why these species are becoming endangered is that dolphins also suffer from parasites and diseases. Some of these species are really declining in numbers such as Amazon river dolphin, Yangtze river dolphin, and Ganges. These species are critically endangered and are now seemed to be functionally extinct. Moreover, dolphins are also known to eat some non-eatables including plastics, pesticides, and other agricultural pollutants which are not easily disintegrated in the environment. Some injuries are also caused due to propellers or collision with boats.

In the last few years, dolphins were also subject to excessive seine fishing for tuna by using gill nets making them almost redundant to the major oceanic waters. In some parts of world such as Taiji and Faroe Islands in Japan, humans pose a great threat as dolphins are treated as traditional food item.

Are Dolphins Endangered

According to an estimate, there are no more than 5,000 Ganges river dolphins left, and the numbers are continuously decreasing especially in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, where only 50 individuals are remaining. Both species namely; Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin are under intense pressure perhaps due to the development of irrigation, dams, and flood control works that entirely changed river habitats. The most common factors responsible for the endangerment of dolphins are;

  • Splitting of dolphins into smaller and isolated populations;
  • Lower water levels;
  • Decreased population of food fish; and
  • Siltation

The Ganges river dolphin is also suffering from hunting and pollution as they inhabit the most densely populated and the poorest regions of the world. The dolphin’s products are commercially valuable especially its oil which is used in medicine, fishbait, and liniment.

why are dolphins endangered

Dolphin Jumping out of water
Image Courtesy of oceaninitiative.org

Dolphin’s Population | Are Dolphins Endangered

Hector’s dolphins are also diminishing rapidly in New Zealand where their population has dropped down from 30,000 to 7,000 individuals since the time when nylon fishing nets came into use in 1970s. Moving towards North, the population of Maui’s is down to 100 species.

One of the endangered dolphin species living in Pakistan is Indus Basin Dolphin and according to the news, three of these dolphins were found dead in the River Indus earlier this year (2012). This is really sad news since they are only found in Pakistan and none else. These species are known to survive in the River Indus all through the Attock on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa border. Some of the Indus Basin dolphins also inhabit the River Ravi. Once they roamed around in large numbers but with the development of irrigation system including dams and barrages, the population is at the brink of extinction. Besides, the factories discharging chemicals are also leaving adverse effects on the future of many dolphins. According to a rough estimate, there are no more than 900 Indus Basin Dolphins remaining in the waters of Pakistan. Some fishermen are also using chemicals to kill edible fish instead of catching fish in the typical way.

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