BRASILIA, Brazil, July 24 (UPI) — The pink dolphins of the Amazon are threatened with extinction from Brazilian fisherman killing them to use their flesh as bait, scientists say.
Researchers estimate 1,500 dolphins are being killed every year in the western Amazon to drive a lucrative trade in catfish, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.
Using the flesh from just one killed dolphin as bait, fishermen can catch up to 1,000 pounds of catfish worth almost $500, nearly double Brazil’s monthly minimum wage, the newspaper said.
“The population of the river dolphins will collapse if these fishermen are not stopped from killing them,” said Vera da Silva of the government’s Institute of Amazonian Research.
Killing dolphins is illegal in Brazil, but enforcement is almost impossible with less than five agents charged with protecting wildlife in two-thirds of Brazil’s Amazonas state, an area twice the size of Texas, the Telegraph reported.
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