Why are dolphins endangered

What is an endangered species?

As we know, the earth is populated by millions of species and sub-species of life forms other than just us human beings. Amongst this plethora of creatures, a significant number is under danger of being completely extinct from the face of the earth. Thus, these organisms are marked as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in order to save them from complete extinction. Examples of endangered species that are on top of this list include Siberian tigers, giant pandas, goldenseals, hawksbill turtles and green-cheeked parrots.

Why are they endangered?

There are a number of factors that can be responsible for endangering a species, but which one is affecting a particular species depends on the concerned species and its surrounding ecology. Common reasons include obstacles to mating and reproduction, imbalanced predation, human interferences, food shortage, changes in the environment and natural calamities.

Are all dolphins facing extinction?

Actually, there are currently two species of dolphins that are marked as being in danger of becoming extinct; the Indus river dolphin and the Yangtze River dolphin (Baiji). There are other susceptible species like the Ganges river dolphin or the Amazon River dolphin as well, but they are not yet considered endangered.

What’s causing the problem?

Simply put, the answer can be summed up in one word and that is Man. The three major problems which have earlier and still are continuing to cut down the dolphin population are all related to human beings and their actions.

Fishermen – Even if a fisherman is not particularly trying to catch a dolphin, he often ends up with a few in his nets since both tunas and dolphins follow the same course. Dolphins caught in fishermen’s nets will in most cases either drown or get hurt beyond healing, even if that is not the intention.


Human cuisine – Although laws prohibit any harm to dolphins, it is not possible to stop it entirely if the fishermen themselves are not willing to understand the problem. Some people eat dolphins and as long as that demand is there, poaching will continue unless stricter measures are applied somehow. Besides, hundreds of thousands of dolphins have already been killed before the current prohibitory laws came into effect.

Water pollution – As is known by most, human beings pollute the water through oil-spills, factory wastes, garbage dumping, etc. and all of those pollutants ultimately damage the dolphins more than most other species. The reason as to why dolphins are affected the most is because they eat a large number of the smaller creatures that primarily ingest the harmful pollutants in their body.

What impact will the extinction of dolphins have on the ecology?

Apart from the shocking fact that the earth will lose one of its most intelligent and unique species forever, there are bound to be some environmental chain-reactions as well. The most prominent impact would be imbalance in the food chain, where lack of dolphins will allow animals upon which they prey, to multiply at an uncontrolled rate. Too many of these animals will further put pressure on the food sources these creatures depend upon and this will continue till the food sources deplete completely due to a lack of opportunity to be replenished. In the absence of sufficient food sources, the dependent animals will also die out or become extinct.