AMAZON RIVER DOLPHINS or Botos
Rio Negro, Amazonian Brazil
The June 2009 issue of National Geographic Magazine features my picture story on wild Amazon River Dolphins. Inevitably, in telling the story on paper, some of my favorite pictures had to be left out. Here are some of the images that you HAVEN'T seen...
From underneath, a pair of Botos are silhouetted against the tropical sun.
A pair of dolphins swims beneath a flooded rainforest tree
Heavy bodied, Botos are hardly graceful leapers, but jump they do, often during play and competitive displays.
In the hot, still afternoons, Botos often play with floating debris, leaves or seeds, like this "macucu," playing a form of wild dolphin "water polo." Scientists believe this has a serious purpose : males use these "games" to compete with other males and attract females.
A male Boto throws a seed high into the air: I watched them do this for hours on end.
With a team of Boto researchers, I took part in a capture-tagging programme in the Mamiraua Reserve. Here a boto is carefully taken back to base for measurements and data. Most of what we know about Botos come from this research.
Although their kinship with marine dolphins is obvious, Botos have adapted in isolation for millions of years and are perfectly suited for life in the vast Amazon basin.
To see the June 2009 issue of National Geographic, go to : http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/
To contact Kevin Schafer :
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