Although the population of botos in the wild is not known, it is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Botos are considered Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction. The biggest threat comes from human development. In 2000, there were ten dams on the Amazon River that fragmented, or separated, groups of botos and interfered with their free movement. More dams are planned on the rivers that botos inhabit. In addition, water control projects that prevent the forest from flooding during the rainy season reduce food available for fish. This causes the fish population to decrease, meaning the botos will also have less food. Other threats to the boto include mercury pollution from the mining of gold near the rivers, other types of pollution associated with human development, and accidental drowning in fishing gear. Although the boto is protected by law in some parts of its range, enforcement is difficult and not very effective.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Carwadine, Mark, and Martin Camm. Smithsonian Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises. New York: DK Publishing, 2002.
Gowell, Elizabeth T. Whales and Dolphins: What They Have in Common. New York: Franklin Watts, 2000.
Mead, James G., and Joy P. Gold. Whales and Dolphins in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.
Nowak, Ronald. M. Walker's Mammals of the World Online 5.1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/ (accessed on July 8, 2004)
American Cetacean Society. http://www.acsonline.org (accessed July 8, 2004).
Convention on Migratory Species. http://www.cms.int/ (accessed July 8, 2004).
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. http://www.wdcs.org (accessed July 8, 2004).