The South American River Dolphin (Inia boliviensis), has been declared Bolivia’s Natural Heritage

Posted on 10 September 2012    
The freshwater dolphin or “Bolivian Bufeo” (iInia boliviensis) has been declared Bolivia’s Natural Heritage by the full house of Representatives of Bolivia on Tuesday August 16. This fact is considered essential for the implementation of conservation of this endemic species of Bolivia, with which we fulfill one of the goals outlined in the Plan of Action of South American River Dolphins for the Bufeo (iInia boliviensis). We believe it will have legal instruments in the near future to ensure the effective protection of the Bolivian dolphin, one of the goals of the National Plan for the conservation of the Bolivian Bufeo (2012-2016).

This statement constitutes a mandate so that at least public institutions of the Bufeo (river dolphin) distribution area may assign funds for the conservation of the species, which must be translated in actions focused on the strategic lines suggested in the National Plan for the Conservation of the Bolivian Bufeo (2012-2016), as follows: 1) Protection; 2) Sustainable use (non-extractive); 3) Knowledge management (investigation and monitoring); 4) Communication and environmental education, and 5) Legislation, regulations, public and private institutional management. This marks a milestone within history when speaking of the conservation of threatened species in Bolivia, the Bolivian Bufeo in particular.

This declaration is in response to a serious of events since 2006, they have been increasing interest on the species and the action of the national government, particularly the Ministry of Environment and Water, the environmental secretaries of Beni and Santa Cruz, research institutes, conservation organizations and local actors.

The actions leading to these results are the fruit of joint efforts and the outstanding participation of the national government, the environmental secretariats of Beni and Santa Cruz, and the support of WWF, WCS, WCDSWDCS (Whale and Dolphins Conservation Society), Whitley Fund for Nature, Omacha Foundation, Faunagua Association, Rufford Foundation, Puma, CI, MHNNKM, Estas Vivo Foundation, Editorial Inia and local actors.

WWF initiated its sustainable work with the species effective 2006, facilitating the performance and publication of studies to estimate its population, to know the status of populations, and to identify probable impacts over the species due to hydroelectric dam construction in Brazil. Likewise, WWF participated in the supported and the elaboration of the Action Plan for South American River Dolphins, as well as the National Plan for the Conservation of the Bolivian Bufeo (iInia boliviensis). WWF’s role has allowed the coordination of efforts of various institutions interested in contributing to the conservation of the species.

We celebrate these achievements that we hope will open doors in support of the Amazonian and Bolivian biodiversity conservation.

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