Bottlenose dolphins on the verge of extinction

Bottlenose dolphin

A new study conducted by biologists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has discovered that Bottlenose dolphins in Panama's Bocas Del Toro Archipelago are on the verge of extinction.

During the study, the researchers found that there are 80 bottlenose dolphins in Panama's Bocas Del Toro Archipelago, and they are not interbreeding with Carribean bottlenose dolphins. The researchers also added that local boat traffic is another factor which negatively affects the survival of these marine creatures. In 2012, the boat traffic killed at least seven dolphins, and considering the less number of bottlenose dolphins in the archipelago, this is something which should be addressed seriously.

"Our results indicate that the population of dolphins in Bocas Del Toro is genetically isolated from other populations in the Caribbean, and given the high impact of boat traffic on the animals, we suggest that its conservation status be changed, at least at a local level," said Dalia C. Barragán-Barrera, from Colombia's Universidad de los Andes, the lead author of the study.

Even though the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species considers common bottlenose dolphins safe from extinction, the risk faced by the species in Bocas Del Toro Archipelago is very high.

Adding more woes, the dolphins in Bocas are not showing any signs of meaningful exchange with the nearest permanent dolphin population in Costa Rica. The dolphins in Bocas love to explore the beautiful green water in the Del Toro Archipelago, and their survival is now facing serious threats due to local boat traffic. Boat noise usually affects the communications between dolphins, and sometimes, they get injured due to boat strikes. Entanglements with fishing nets are also quite common in this area.

"Conservation priorities are largely dependent on the IUCN conservation status of the species," added Dalia. The researcher urged the IUCN to designate Bottlenose dolphins in Panama's Bocas Del Toro Archipelago as endangered.