As the area struggles with a severe drought, more than 100 dolphins have perished in the Brazilian Amazon jungle in the previous week.
Many more dolphins could perish soon if water temperatures stay high, according to experts.
The Tefe Lake region, which is important for mammals and fish in the area, saw the discovery of two more dead dolphins on Monday, according to the Mamiraua Institute, a research organization of Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.
Vultures were seen tearing up the dolphin carcasses that were beached along the lake’s edge in a video given by the institute. According to local media, thousands of fish have also perished.
The most likely reason for the mortality in the area’s lakes, according to experts, is the high water temperatures. In the Tefe Lake area, temperatures have surpassed 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) since last week.
The Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Protection, which oversees protected zones for the Brazilian government, announced last week that teams of veterinarians and specialists in aquatic mammals had been sent to look into the fatalities.
According to Mamiraua Institute researcher Miriam Marmontel, there were approximately 1,400 river dolphins in Tefe Lake. “We have already lost about 120 animals between the two of them in one week,” said Marmontel.
This loss might account for 5% to 10% of the population. Since last week, workers have found dolphin carcasses in a location where dry rivers have affected poor riverside families and grounded their boats in the sand. Wilson Lima, the governor of Amazonas, issued a state of emergency on Friday owing to the drought.
Mayor of the 60,000-person city of Tefe, Nicson Marreira claimed that due to the dry rivers, his government was unable to send food directly to some rural areas. The drought has had a significant effect on the riverbank settlements in the Amazon region, according to Ayan Fleischmann, the Mamirauá Institute’s geospatial coordinator.
“Many communities are becoming isolated without access to good-quality water or to the river, which is their main means of transportation,” he said. From 32 C (89 F) on Friday to roughly 38 C (100 F) on Sunday, according to Fleischmann, the temperature of the water increased.
The cause of the dolphin fatalities, he claimed, is still being investigated, but the high temperature is still the leading suspect.