Iténez-Mamoré binational Corridor | WWF
© WWF Bolivia / Gustavo YBARRA

Iténez-Mamoré binational Corridor

Aerial view of Iténez Protected Area (Bolivian Amazon)
WWF Bolivia’s projects at Iténez Protected Area
With funds from WWF US / Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and WWF Sweden / Sida, through the Departmental Government of the Beni, the FaunAgua Association and the Institute for Man, Agriculture and Ecology (Iphae), WWF is contributing to the management of this area with:
Pink river dolphin, Inia geoffrensis, Orinoco river, Colombia. © Fernando Trujillo / Fundación Omacha

  • Operational funds for strengthening the Protected Areas’ Office of the Beni Departmental Government, as well as the Iténez PA Office
  • Infrastructure and equipment for the basic running and operation of the protected area
  • Support in the management of hydro-biological resources
  • Promotion of the sound management of natural resources in the Iténez Protected Area’s communities
  • Information and development of organizational capacities for communities.
     

The Inia boliviensis
River dolphins were discovered by the French researcher Alcide D'Orbigny in 1832, during his last trip to South America when he traveled along the Iténez River (Beni). At that time, D’Orbigny named this Dolphin Inia boliviensis, species that later on was given the name Inia geoffrensis.

The Pink dolphin (known in Bolivia as Bufeo) is the largest freshwater Dolphin in the world. It can reach up to 2.8 m long and weigh 180 kg. In Latin America, this species is widely distributed in the Amazon and Orinoco watersheds (Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru). In Bolivia, it is found in Amazon Watershed rivers in the departments of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando.

The rocky irregularities – known as ‘cachuelas’ – along the Madeira River – only a few kilometers from where the Mamoré River meets the Beni River – have isolated the Bufeo in Bolivia, making its evolution as a species different from Inia geoffrensis possible: the Inia boliviensis. Scientists have found that this Bolivian species has more teeth, a larger body and a smaller scull, compared to Inia geoffrensis.

Thus, currently there are two identified Pink dolphin species: Inia boliviensis and Inia geoffrensis. This latter has two sub-species: Inia geoffrensis geoffrensis in the Amazon and Inia geoffrensis humboldtiana in the Orinoquia.

The Inia boliviensis is an endemic species of the Upper Madeira River Watershed, mainly found in Bolivia (Madeira is the river that conducts the Bolivian waters to the Amazon). This species is very showy and has potential for becoming an emblematic species for the region, as a tourism and conservation ambassador.
 

The Bolivian Amazon river dolphin in the Itenez river