Boto dolphin

Colombia commits to ending illegal Amazon dolphin hunts


The Colombian government has committed to protecting the Amazon pink river dolphin (Boto) from being slaughtered for illegal use as fishing bait to catch Piracatinga, a type of catfish.

Following the hand-in of our petition calling on the Colombia government to take urgent measures to stop the illegal killing of Boto dolphins, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now opened up its doors to World Animal Protection to begin discussions on how best to achieve positive change for pink river river dolphins.

The petition, which was signed by more than 155,000 people from all around the world, played a key role in kick starting conversations. A big thank you to all our supporters who took action – your support has enabled us to move the Colombian government to act. 

During a meeting with the government on December 15th, 2014, Ministry officials stated that they were aware of the growing public’s calls for change; and that together with other countries in the Amazon Basin, they are committed to seeking solutions to end this cruel practice. 

Taking collective action

The aim is to address the issue via ACTO (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization), a forum made up of eight member states that since 1978, has been working to promote the sustainable development of the Amazon Basin. Its members include Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, with Brazil currently holding the position of chair. 

Colombia has committed to including the following three guidelines related to the illegal hunting of the prink river dolphin on the agenda of the next Neighborhood Committee meeting, which is due to be held in the upcoming months:

  • The prohibition of fishing Piracatinga in Brazil 
  • The use of dolphin and alligator meat as bait all on the agenda
  • The possibility of high mercury in the Piracatinga fish, which poses a health risk to consumer

Colombia, Brazil and Peru will all be attending the meeting. 

The Ministry also agreed to take our concerns to the authorities in charge of international trading in Colombia and to work with them to adopt similar measures as Brazil has of curbing the sale of Piracatinga fish and improving law enforcement to protect dolphins.

Ricardo Mora, World Animal Protection’s Program Director in Latin America said, “The Colombian government has shown a willingness to acknowledge the threats faced by the pink river dolphin and are open to taking measures to protect this beautiful animal. This is certainly due to the more than 155,000 signatures from all over the world calling for change, demonstrating the crucial importance of people speaking up on behalf animals. We are hopeful that concrete solutions will emerge soon.”

Please add your voice to the campaign by signing our petition

The Colombian government are open to taking measures to protecting this beautiful animal. This is certainly due to the more than 155,000 signatures from all over the world, demonstrating the importance of people speaking up on behalf animals.

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