Amazon River Dolphin

Amazon river dolphin by Oceancetaceen sometimes known as the Orinoco

Amazon Dolphin

The Amazon river dolphin, (other names include boto, bufeo or pink river dolphin), is a species of toothed whale endemic to South America and is classified in the family Iniidae. Three subspecies are currently recognized: Amazon river dolphin,, Bolivian river dolphin and the Orinoco river dolphin while position of Araguaian river dolphin  within the clade is still unclear The three subspecies are each found in a separate river basin (in order) the Amazon basin, the upper Madeira River in Bolivia, and the Orinoco basin.

The Amazon river dolphin is the largest species of river dolphin, with adult males reaching 185 kilograms (408 lb) in weight, and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length. Adults acquire a pink colour, more prominent in males, giving it its nickname “pink river dolphin”. Sexual dimorphism is very evident, with males measuring 16% longer and weighing 55% more than females.

Like other toothed whales, they have a melon, an organ that is used for bio sonar. The dorsal fin, although short in height, is regarded as long, and the pectoral fins are also large. The fin size, unfused vertebrae, and its relative size allow for improved manoeuvrability when navigating flooded forests and capturing prey.

They have one of the widest ranging diets among toothed whales, and feed on up to 53 different species of fish, such as croakers, catfish, tetras and piranhas. They also consume other animals such as river turtles, aquatic frogs, and freshwater crabs. However, this is not particularly surprising, as there are so many forms of life in the Amazon rainforest, and plenty is likely to occasionally find themselves in the river.

In 2018, this species was classed as endangered, by the IUCN with a declining population. Threats include incidental catch in fishing lines, direct hunting for use as fish bait or predator control, damming, and pollution; as with many species, habitat loss and continued human development is becoming a greater threat.

While it is the only species of river dolphin kept in captivity, almost exclusively in Venezuela and Europe, it is difficult to train and often die very young, when kept in captivity..

Life expectancy of the Amazon river dolphin in the wild is unknown, but in captivity, the longevity of healthy individuals has been recorded at between 10 and 30 years. However, a 1986 study of the average longevity of this species in captivity in the United States is only 33 months. An individual named Baby at the  Duisburg Zoo, Germany, lived at least 46 years, spending 45 years, 9 months at the zoo.

Below you will find any news articles on Amazon dolphin (though articles with both words also get sucked in). Also  we will add any information on where you can go to see these in the wild, beneath both of these.

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

Indo- Pacific humpback dolphin

Found in the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans, this dolphin inhabits coastal waters in this part of the world. It is also known as the Chinese White dolphin

Coloured grey, pink or white (the pink colour comes from blood vessels near the surface rather than from pigmentation) they have a length of 2m-3.5m in length and a weight of 150kg-230kg. They generally spend their time in groups not larger than 10 individuals.

These are not dolphins who go under for long periods of time, with adults rarely diving for more than 4 minutes. Similar threats to other dolphins, include coastal developments, water pollution, overfishing and an increased number of boats in the water. In 2015 it was classified as vulnerable.

A small population of the dolphins (158) live close to Hong Kong and many have succumbed as a result of toxins ingested from the water.

Because they spend much of their time in shallow water close to the shore, they are more at risk to pollution from things like plastic that can wash into the sea. Plastic also makes it harder or impossible for the dolphins to locate fish with echolocation as a result of the extra things in the body of water. 

Below here is a section which will list every time they have been mentioned on the website. Below that, is a video of these animals. Below that you will find any links (as we make them) which will help you see these animals in the wild.

Narrow-ridged (or East Asian) finless porpoise

Narrow ridged (east Asian) finless Porpoise

This species is native to the East China Sea, Yellow Sea, and the seas around Japan. The Yangtze finless was originally thought to be a subspecies of this porpoise, though further study showed its differences to be greater than that (hence it now being recognized as a separate species). The east asian finless porpoise is a subspecies of the narrow ridged finless porpoise (the above picture is one of these).

Growing to 2.27m at most, and 72kg, though most are smaller.

They generally stay in water 50m deep or less, and mostly stay close to shore (though not always – it has been spotted over 100km from land).

The biggest threat to them is habitat degradation and pollution. The population has fallen by 50% in the last 3 generations.

They have been kept in captivity in Japan, Indonesia and China. A total of 94 are thought to have been held. Unfortunately these do not live long, and of all of the pregnancies that have occurred in captivity, only 2 resulted in a love birth and this did not survive for long.

African Nile Crocodile

Nile crocodile

The Nile crocodile is spread widely throughout sub-saharan africa (except for parts

 of South Africa, thought to be natural and not due to hunting). A suggested subspecies is found in western Madagascar, there are 7 such subspecies, though none have been officially recognized.

While it was originally thought to be the same species as the western African crocodile (confusing given its range), it has actually been found to be closer related to various crocodiles from the Americas, particularly the American crocodile. As such, parts of the map above may actually host west African crocodiles exclusively.

The Nile crocodile is considered the second largest on earth, only beaten by the saltwater crocodile of Asia, interestingly, interestingly the saltwater crocodile is also the only crocodilian that has a greater range than the African crocodile. It was thought that the crocodile had arrived on Madagascar in the last 2000 years – after the extinction of the endemic Voey crocodile, but recently a skull was found and dated to be 7500 years old, suggesting that they must have coexisted for millennia.

While rarely venturing into the sea, they can (like all true crocodiles) survive here, and one was found alive 11 miles off the South African coast in the past.

They have been found in the Florida Everglades, presumably after an illegal introduction – there is so far no evidence of them successfully breeding here. It is unclear of their origin or where they came from, though they are genetically most similar to crocs from South Africa.

While they usually only dive for a few minutes at a time, they are capable of holding their breath for 30 minutes of activity under water – impressively, those inactive under water can stay down for around 2 hours. While rapid and effective hunters in the waters and along its edge, they are far less capable away from the water, and it is rare that they hunt away from water, having said this they are known to hunt here, and are incredibly adaptable to any opportunity. They have a surprisingly small stomach, only the size of a basketball.

Only around 10% of eggs will hatch and around 1% will survive to adulthood. Certainly, much of this damage is down to the Nile monitor lizard, which is thought to be responsible for as much as 50% of the eggs on its own, though median sized cats, baboon troops and mongooses all attack crocodile nests with regularity. Once born, crocodiles are even more at risk, both from animals already mentioned, as well as virtually every predatory water bird, from storks and egrets to even pelicans. Unfortunately, the biggest threat are other adult crocodiles which will happily eat young. While the mother does stay around, and aggressively protects her young, there are so many animals trying to snag a meal, many of the young crocodiles are caught during this time.

The biggest threats include loss of habitat, pollution, hunting, and human activities such as accidental entanglement in fishing nets.

Current estimates are around 250,000 to 500,000. In some parts of Africa they are farmed for their hide (their meat is unpleasant).

Their population is less healthy in western and central Africa, being more sparsely spread. This also makes it hard to do an accurate assessment of their status in this part of Africa.

Along with the saltwater crocodile, the African nile crocodile is estimated to kill anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people each year, with attacks generally carried out by larger crocodiles (thought to be over 3.5m). Given the numbers, it is thought that nile crocodiles and saltwater crocodiles are the most successful hunter of humans – far more fatalities than great while sharks. One study suggested, that while the danger of lions was well known, there was a bizarre feeling that crocodiles were not dangerous. The numbers may well be down to the fact that crocodiles live in water – a place where humans are forced to go regularly.

Below this is a list of any articles released on this site, which mentions the Nile crocodile. Below this, is a video of the species, and below this, we will add links of places to see this species, though if you visit wild places, all savannahs listed on the site will have nile crocodiles.

UK Farms that are part of the ‘red tractor’ label scheme more likely to pollute environment

The Red Tractor Assurance Scheme aims to guarantee good food standards. Unfortunately, recent analysis has shown that they are also more likely to pollute the environment than those not in the scheme.

Although supposed to be a sign of farms doing the right thing, it might not be

Nearly half of the 100,000 farms in the UK are part of the scheme, and the voiceover promises that the red tractor scheme is a sign that the farm is “farmed with care”.

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Resolution to ban the sale of electric cars in Wyoming from 2035 effectively dead

A group of republican state lawmakers introduced a resolution that called for the sale of electric cars to be phased out by 2035. Apparently, the resolutions sponsor does not want them banned (in which case a very poorly worded resolution) he just wanted to make a statement about the phasing out of gas-powered vehicles in other states.

So why was all this undertaken? Apparently a group of the states republican lawmakers are aiming to safeguard the oil and gas industries.

It was suggested that the bill would hinder the states ability to trade with other states “Wyoming’s vast stretches of highway, coupled with the lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, make the widespread use of electric vehicles impracticable for the state” so the bill stated.

This is frankly stupid: at the moment there is little charging infrastructure, because there are few electric cars. However, the ban is intended to come into force in 2035 which is roughly 2 whole car cycles into the future. Do these people really believe that there wont be more charging infrastructure by then?

Among the reason cited are the following:

  • Batteries used in electric vehicles could contain critical minerals whose “domestic supply is limited and at risk for disruption”
  • Minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable, meaning that municipal landfills in the state could be required to develop practices to dispose of these minerals in a safe and responsible manner
  • The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in Commerce

Lets take these points in turn:

Point one, suggests that there will be a problem supplying the minerals required for the batteries. This is pretty ridiculous, as if this is true then they have nothing to worry about. Having said that, with the advance of sodium batteries and the increasing quantity of lithium that can be captured from many sources, it is simply not true.

Point two is also false: many of these minerals are very valuable, and it is far cheaper to extract minerals from former batteries than from the ground. There is a rapidly growing industry to extract as much of these minerals as is possible for reuse. Will municipals have to be able to deal with some of these issues, of course, and they will adapt easily as they have many times in the past.

Point three is likely to be true, and is I believe the sole real reason. This move was intended to stop the electric vehicle industry before it got going in the state to protect the oil and gas industry (and the large contributions that flow to politicians from these businesses. I would argue that it makes the politicians look both stupid and corrupt.

The resolutions sponsor said that he did not really want to ban electric cars, but merely make a statement about phasing out gas powered vehicles in other states. Of course what should really be remembered, is that while the environmental catastrophe that we are facing needs an end to combustion engine cars, the cost savings are so extreme, that the number of combustion engine cars people want to by in 12 years is likely to be extremely low.

It is fact that, not only are electric cars quickly reaching similar sticker price to combustion engine cars, but even now over the lifetime of the car, they are vastly cheaper – with most people paying hundreds rather than thousands to fuel them each year.

Absurd green washing of an environmental failure

One of the most reliable forms of renewable electricity generation is hydro. Create a dam, and then make electricity when ever you release the water from behind it. However, there are clearly places where this is not going to be good for the environment.

The Belo Monte dam is sold as part of the fight against global warming. This is however not a green project, indeed apart from the destruction of a huge area of rainforest, its construction will emit more carbon than it could possibly save in the next several hundred years

If the river that is dammed is running through a forest, then the flooding will cover the rainforest. What happens then? Well all the carbon that is stored in the trees, and the ground is released back into the air.

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Russia has had a large oil spill deep in the Arctic

One of the main concerns for oil exploration and use in the Arctic,  has always been the difficulty of cleaning up any spills in this pristine environment.

A large spill has just occurred. A fuel reservoir for a power plant has just collapsed releasing 20000 tons of diesel fuel. 

The company in question try to cover it up for some time, and indeed it seems that it only became common knowledge when the WWF found out about the spill and went public.

This problem is ongoing and they are yet to choose the method of dealing with this spill

UK Local and National concerns conflict

Ever since David Cameron stated “I’ve had enough of all this green xxxx” (despite starting his Premiership with his hug a husky arctic trip) the conservative government has not considered reducing C02 emissions or fighting global warming as an important area to work on. Indeed having voted to leave the EU it is likely that they will be very little Parliament concentration left for this important fight in the next few years.

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