What are the most pressing dolphin threats of today?


Dolphins are possibly the most adorable creatures among the Cetaceans (includes porpoises and whales) and amongst marine animals in general. They have been known to form bonds with others of those of their kinds quickly, and with humans, they come in close contact as well. Humans adore dolphins, and dolphins are known to reciprocate the love bestowed upon them with kindness.

Sadly, these dolphins have become threatened over the years. Let’s explore why some of the dolphins are on the verge of extinction? Let’s also discuss some of the subspecies of these cute creatures which are most threatened by evil humans.

Humans’ impacts on the environment are mainly responsible for endangering this charming and beautiful mammal. This is attributed to various toxic elements, wastes, trash, and other harmful byproducts spread into the sea and ocean’s waters. Even the more erratic incidents such as pesticides from accidental collisions by ship propellers are also culprits for why dolphins have become jeopardized and slowly declining in numbers.

Another harmful factor to the dolphin’s endangerment is human byproducts spewed into the ocean. The dolphins also often fall victim to the fishermen’s nets. Studies show that dolphins’ populations have a steady decline of 12% every year. One of the leading causes is also pollution in their living environment. Dolphins also fall into human traps intended to catch them. Some people consider this their form of entertainment and one of their hobbies. Dolphins are taken to marine zoos and wildlife parks to be shown as fun entertainment. This is why they are losing their proper environment and will eventually perish.

Most recently, dolphins are killed and hunted in large numbers for financial purposes. The meat is found to be delicious and is a favorite to humans. One alarming phenomenon is the mass hunting of dolphins in countries like China, wherein the meat is traded out to westerners. In recent years, atomic bomb testing in seawater has also created an unfriendly environment for these dolphins.

Endangered Dolphin subspecies

The species falling under the group of threatened dolphins include the Irrawaddy dolphin, the euryhaline species of the Oceanic dolphin found in discontinuous subpopulations near estuaries, rivers, and seacoasts in parts of Southeast Asia and the Bay of Bengal. Another one is Hector’s dolphin, which is the well known of the four dolphins in the genus Cephalorhynchus and is located only in New Zealand. At about 1.4 meters in length, it is one of the Cetaceans’ smallest.

Another endangered dolphin is the Amazon river dolphin, alternately Bufeo, Boto, Boffo Colorado, Boto Cor de Rosa, Nay, Boutu, Pink River Dolphin, or Tonina. It is a freshwater river dolphin endemic to the Bolivia, Orinoco, Amazon, Araguaia/Tocantins River systems of Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Summary: What is killing Dolphins?

  1. Heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, and other agricultural and industrial pollutants that do not deteriorate rapidly in the environment accumulate inside predators such as dolphins and kill them.
  2. Due to collisions with boats, especially their propellers, dolphin deaths or injuries are also widespread.
  3. Various fishing methods, most notably the use of drift and gill nets and purse seine fishing for tuna, unintentionally kill many dolphins.
  4. Dolphins and other cetaceans are also excessively hunted in a now illegal (yet unpunished) activity known as dolphin drive hunting. This is achieved by driving a pod together with boats and usually onto a beach or into a bay.

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