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Araguaia river dolphin faces extinction

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Rob Rodriguez
Staff Writer

Friday, February 7, 2014, 3:15 PM -

The discovery of a new animal species is always a major event in the scientific community, especially when it's a relatively large creature like the araguaia river dolphin.

Fresh water dolphins are found in different parts of the world.

Those in Brazil's Amazon basin are being threatened by pollution, deforestation and over-fishing.

The araguaia river dolphin looks so much like another species, the Amazon rive dolphin, it took DNA sampling to determine it was distinct.

It's the first of a new type of river dolphin to be discovered in over 100 years.

And while scientists are overjoyed at the find they're concerned as well, because the animals are relatively unprotected.


RELATED: Read about the whooping crane, another endangered species


In 2002, the last known Yangtze River Dolphin died in China.

That species is now considered functionally extinct. There have been some sightings since then, but scientists say there are so few specimens of the araguaia river dolphin that true extinction is likely inevitable.

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