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The last river dolphin

Baby the captive river dolphin

A river dolphin held captive in Duisburg Zoo, Germany, has died leaving just one remaining river dolphin in the world in captivity.

Baby (also known as Orinoco or Butu) was 47 when he died at the zoo this week. He led a sad life, captured at a very young age together with his mother and three other individuals in Rio Apure (Venezuela).

Baby had been ill and was eventually put to sleep. This means that only one river dolphin, named Huayrurin, remains captive in a tank and is kept in the Peruvian port city of Iquitos.

There are four species of river dolphins that live in the major rivers of Asia and South America. They tend to look like primitive marine dolphins and this is because their ancestors lived in the ocean. River dolphins have slender beaks lined with lots of teeth, small eyes, flexible necks and bodies, pronounced forehead melons, large flippers and small dorsal fins.

The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation for Nature) – the body that assesses the survival prospects of plants, animals and fungi – recently placed the tucuxi river dolphin on it’s endangered species Red List, which means that all the world's freshwater dolphins are now threatened.

Find out more about how we are working to create sanctuaries for whales and dolphins and to end the cruel practice of keeping them in captivity for human entertainment.

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