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Humpback whale playing with kelp

Why do humpback whales wear seaweed wigs?

Alison Wood Ali is WDC's education projects coordinator. She is the editor of Splash! and KIDZONE,...
Japanese whaling ship

WDC in Japan – Part 5: The meaning of whaling

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Risso's dolphins off the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Unravelling the mysteries of Risso’s dolphins – WDC in action

Nicola Hodgins Nicola is WDC's cetacean science coordinator. She leads our long-term Risso's dolphin research...
Save the whale save the world on a tv in a meeting room.

Saving whales in boardrooms and on boats

Abbie Cheesman Abbie is WDC's head of strategic partnerships. She works with leading businesses to...
Outcomes of COP28

Outcomes for whales and dolphins from COP28

Ed Goodall Ed is WDC's head of intergovernmental engagement. He meets with world leaders to...
Taiji's cove with boats rounding up dolphins to be slaughtered or sold to aquraiums

WDC in Japan – Part 4: A journey to Taiji’s killing cove

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Blue whale at surface

Creating a safe haven for whales and dolphins in the Southern Ocean

Emma Eastcott Emma is WDC's head of safe seas. She helps ensure whales and dolphins...
We're at COP28 to Save the Whale, Save the World.

We’re at COP28 to save the whale, save the world

Ed Goodall Ed is WDC's head of intergovernmental engagement. He meets with world leaders to...

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.