What is Episode 71 all about?
The Amazon: the world’s most magnificent rainforest and one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Often referred to as the “lungs of the planet”, the Amazon is directly responsible for creating much of the air we breathe, circulating the freshwater we drink, and hosting a massive percent of the world’s biodiversity.
The Amazon is also home to a group of animals you may not know exist: river dolphins. Yes, swimming through the Amazon’s intricate water systems are playful, highly intelligent, super-killer dolphins (don’t worry – humans are never on their menu). When we think about dolphins, we usually envision family pods swimming, hunting, and socializing in the vast open ocean. So, how and why are there dolphins in the Amazon? What is their role in maintaining ecosystem balance? And how do we save these top predators from extinction?
To explore these topics and much more, today we’re sitting down with Fernando Trujillo, PhD, river dolphin expert and founder of the Omacha Foundation in Colombia. Fernando grew up in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota, an environment that couldn’t be more different than the wild Amazon. However, when he heard a lecture by the famous Jacques Cousteau calling for someone to study river dolphins, Fernando stepped up and took the challenge head-on. Since that decision 35 years ago, Fernando and his partners have surveyed over 50,000 km of Amazonian waters learning everything there is to know about river dolphins and how to save them.
Fernando and I discuss how dolphins arrived in the Amazon and the special adaptations they’ve evolved during their 2 million years in the rainforest, many of the discoveries Fernando has made throughout his 35-year career, the very real threats the Amazon is currently experiencing, and tips that all of us can do no matter where we are in the world to protect this vitally important ecosystem.
Today is National Dolphin Day, so share this episode with friends and on your social media accounts to celebrate!
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Fernando.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Links & Resources
National Geographic Explorer: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/impact/article/fernando-trujillo-explorer-story
River Dolphins: Connecting Science and Conservation in the Amazon and Orinoco Basins by Fernando Trujillo, Ph.D. (2019)
“A River Below” (2017). https://www.amazon.com/River-Below-Fernando-Trujillo/dp/B078766K62
Resources Mentioned in the Show
South American River Dolphin Initiative:
“2020: A Big Step in the Conservation of South American River Dolphins” WWF. https://www.wwf.org.mx/?365614/2020-A-Big-Step-in-the-Conservation-of-South-American-River-Dolphins
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