Boat traffic threatens the survival of Panama’s Bocas Del Toro dolphins

Repeating Islands

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Geneticists recommend designating isolated dolphin population as ‘endangered’

A report from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Bottlenose dolphins in Panama’s Bocas Del Toro Archipelago should be designated as endangered say the authors of a new study. Biologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered that the roughly 80 dolphins in the archipelago do not interbreed with other Caribbean bottlenose dolphins. Their low numbers jeopardize their long-term survival, which is threatened by increasing local boat traffic that killed at least seven dolphins in 2012.

Worldwide, the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is considered of “least concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. But this belies the risk faced by the Bocas dolphin population, which the study suggests was founded by a small dolphin family a few thousand years ago. In addition, the dolphins of Bocas also appear to have no…

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