RIO De JANEIRO – The bright pink dolphins of the Amazon River as very docile, and gentle creatures. This unfortunately makes them easy pickings for the people who trap them using harpoons and nets, as they will simply nose up beside the fishing boats to say hello.

The sad fact is that their dead, dismembered bodies are now making appearances on riverbanks in numbers that are mind boggling. Their flesh has been used as bait, and the remains have been chucked away carelessly, with no concern for how this is going to affect the species. Researchers are warning that if something is not done soon, these dolphins may suffer the same fate as those in other parts of the world; extinction. “The population of the river dolphins will collapse if these fishermen are not stopped from killing them,” explained the top aquatic mammals expert at the government’s Institute of Amazonian Research, Vera de Silva, “We’ve been studying an area of 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) for 17 years, and of late the population is dropping 7 percent each year.”

In plain English this means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 dolphins are hunted down and killed every year in Mamiraua Reserve of the Western Amazon, where da Silva studies these remarkable creatures.

Da Silva went on to explain that researchers first began to discover the discarded remains of these pink dolphins along the banks cerca the year 2000. They had obviously been struck down by human means, as they had been hacked and quartered, their flesh stripped away like so many a fish fillet.

The appearance of these dolphin carcasses are indicative that the killing of these dolphins is on the rise, the environmental agents and researchers say. The problem is so large in scope that the government has even admitted that there is a problem and something needs to be done about it. It is already illegal to kill these dolphins without explicit permission from the government – as is the case with all the other animals of the amazon. However, nothing is really being done in terms of enforcing those laws.

There are less than five full time environmental agents on site, which are supposed to be in charge of protecting the wildlife in the jungle region which spans across two-thirds of the Amazon. This area is two times the size of Texas, so it is no wonder that nothing gets enforced. The Brazillian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), had this to comment on the situation, “It’s a matter of priority, and right now the government is focusing on deforestation, the killings of these dolphins exists – it’s a fact.” Although nothing has been said on what exactly is being done to rectify the matter.

The pink dolphin’s flesh is a popular commodity amongst anglers, as it is a rather effective bait for catching a breed of catfish in the area, known as piracatinga.