Threats to Dolphins
As climate change causes the seas and oceans warm, dolphins are being seen more frequently in colder waters outside their historic ranges. Due to the rapidly rising ocean temperatures, the dolphin’s primary food sources are seeking deeper cooler waters. Scientists are concerned that the dolphins will have difficulty adapting as quickly as necessary to find new feeding grounds to sustain their populations. Some dolphins that live in areas where rivers and oceans meet, known as brackish waters, are also losing habitat as ocean levels are rising due to global warming.
REASONS FOR HOPE
Dolphins are one of the most iconic species of the marine world. With their playful nature and high intelligence dolphins have captivated the hearts of people of all ages from all over the world. Due to their popularity, many countries are researching and monitoring dolphins to ensure their survival. In April 2009 biologists working in Bangladesh found a thriving population of 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, which were thought to be critically endangered, off the coast as part of a monitoring project started in 2004.
Size: The familiar bottlenose dolphin is around 8 feet (2.5m) long and weighs between 440-660 lbs (200-300kg).
Because the forty species of dolphins are so diverse, they range in size. The smallest of the dolphin species, Maui's Dolphin, is around 4 feet (1.2m) long and weighs around 90 lbs (40 kg). The largest dolphin species is the orca, or killer whale. Male orcas grow to about 25 feet in length and weigh about 19,000 pounds.
Lifespan: Most dolphins live long lives. The bottlenose dolphin can live over 40 years, and the orca can live to be 70 or 80!