Apr 3, 2009

A Little Bit of Good News

National Geographic reports
that a population of 6,000 Irrawaddy Dolphins were found in Bangladesh. This is a good thing, not only because the dolphins are quite simply adorable (see below) but because they are also one of the few brackish water dolphins left in the world.

This will surely open the door to new research of the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal where they live:

Few marine-mammal biologists had previously explored the diverse water ecosystem where the new dolphin group was found, which ranges from freshwater mangroves to brackish water to deep ocean canyons in just a small area.

The Irrawaddy dolphin is sometimes called a river dolphin, though it is actually classified as an oceanic dolphin, unlike its South American friend that also lives in brackish water, the La Plata Dolphin (see below), which makes the river dolphin cut.

The other river dolphins include the boto, or Amazon River Dolphin; the baiji, or Yangtze River Dolphin; and the Indus/Ganges River Dolphin. There are very, very few of each of them left in the wild: they don't know how many boto are left, the baiji is thought to be extinct (as of 2004), and the Indus/Ganges dolphin is endangered. They are fascinating animals, so take a look.

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