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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

The Illegal River Dolphin Hunt

WDC has part-funded the creation of an important documentary film about the illegal river dolphin hunt in the Amazon.

The terrible truth behind the cruel and unsustainable boto slaughter is exposed in this documentary produced by the Omacha Foundation and part-funding by WDC:  “The Pulse of the River”. The film shows people in Colombia the real cost of eating the fish.

group of Amazon river dolphins swimming togetherThe biggest threat to river dolphins or botos in the Amazon is man.  The most extreme threat of all is Illegal hunting of botos (mainly in Brazil) for fish bait which began in 2000. Alarmingly illegal boto hunting continues to increase in scope and scale; it is threatening the future of botos and responsible for untold cruelty and brutality.  Those responsible for boto hunting are fishermen living in very poor riverine communities alongside botos; both people and botos are reliant on catching fish to survive. Increasingly botos are seen as pests, competing for dwindling fish catches in the Amazon. Hunting botos for free not only provides valuable fish bait; it also stamps out the competition. 

WDC is seriously concerned about the long term future for botos and the pain and suffering endured by each and every boto killed.  The hunt is incredibly cruel; botos are killed using spears, machetes and knives.  Boto carcasses often show signs of severe physical violence before death.  In some cases botos have been caught and tethered using rope around their tails until they are required for bait.

Piracatinga fish are carnivorous and attracted in large numbers by a boto carcass (bait).  Local fishermen consider eating this rather smelly fish as distasteful and so sell it to traders who export most of it to Colombia. The fish is heavily laden with mercury and people buying it in Colombian supermarkets are unaware of the potential health threats to themselves or the terrible suffering inflicted on botos.