In the midst of a severe drought in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, more than 100 dolphins have tragically lost their lives in just one week. Experts warn that if high water temperatures persist, many more could face the same fate.
Alarming Discovery: Two Additional Dolphin Deaths in Tefe Lake
The Mamiraua Institute, a research group affiliated with Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, reported the discovery of two more deceased dolphins on Monday in the vicinity of Tefe Lake. This area plays a vital role for both mammals and fish in the region, and the institute’s footage reveals vultures scavenging on the lifeless dolphin carcasses along the lakeside. Local media have also documented thousands of fish fatalities.
High Temperatures Suspected Culprit Behind the Tragedy
Leading experts believe that the primary cause of dolphin deaths and fish fatalities is the unusually high water temperatures in the region. Temperatures have soared above 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) since last week in the Tefe Lake area. Responding to the crisis, the Brazilian government’s Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation has dispatched teams of veterinarians and aquatic mammal specialists to investigate the situation.
Devastating Impact on Dolphin Population and Communities
Miriam Marmontel, a researcher from the Mamiraua Institute, disclosed that there were approximately 1,400 river dolphins in Tefe Lake. In just one week, around 120 of these animals have perished, potentially representing 5% to 10% of the population. The crisis has also disrupted the lives of riverside communities, as dry rivers have left impoverished residents stranded and their boats stranded in the sand.
Emergency Declared by Amazonas Gov. Wilson Lima
Due to the drought’s severe consequences, Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima declared a state of emergency on Friday. The city of Tefe, home to 60,000 residents, has been grappling with challenges in delivering essential supplies to isolated communities due to the dried-up rivers.
Dire Consequences for Amazon Communities
Ayan Fleischmann, the Geospatial coordinator at the Mamirauá Institute, emphasized that the drought has had a devastating impact on riverside communities in the Amazon region. These communities are now isolated, lacking access to clean water and unable to use the river for transportation.
Investigation Ongoing, High Temperatures Prime Suspect
While efforts to determine the exact cause of the dolphin deaths are ongoing, high water temperatures remain the leading candidate for this tragic ecological disaster. Water temperatures have risen significantly, from 32°C (89°F) on Friday to nearly 38°C (100°F) on Sunday, exacerbating the crisis in the Amazon rainforest.
(With AP Inputs)