In search of river dolphins in Bolivia. Last May, Jeffrey Kofman, a correspondent for ABC News, and his film crew visited the community of Bella Vista, Beni, located within Iténez Protected Area. The crew was after the Bolivian Amazon river dolphin, Inia boliviensis
, recently declared by the Departmental Government of Beni as Natural Heritage.
In April 2008, scientists from Latin America met in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, and confirmed, based on molecular science results, that Inia boliviensis
is a different specie from Iniageoffrensis
and endemic to Bolivia, thanks to a selection process and geographic isolation in Bolivia due to a series of natural barriers, such as rapids up stream from the city of Porto Velho, which millions of years ago physically separated the populations of Inia geoffrensis
, impeding its contact and making its evolution as a different specie possible, recently confirmed as Inia boliviensis
Inia boliviensis is a unique specie, and, aside from being a new and endemic specie, it is also charismatic and eye-catching, as well as an indicator of the conservation state of the ecosystemsit inhabits.
It has an exceptional image and is worthy of representing conservation strategies through which diverse environmental problems can be approached. ABC’s visit is an opportunity to give international visibility to the specie, theAmazon and its threats and opportunities.
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