Injured by a fishing net and washed ashore, a 10-day-old La Plata River dolphin (nicknamed Nipper) was found by tourists on a Uruguayan beach and brought to the SOS marine animal rescue center for rehabilitation and treatment of its injuries.
One of four remaining river dolphin species, the Franciscana Dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) is one of the rarest and least understood dolphins in South America. Found in the Brazil's Doce River, Argentina's Peninsula Valdes and in the coastal waters of Uruguay, it is the only species of river dolphins that can be found in salt water.
River dolphins are notoriously difficult to rehabilitate or keep in captivity, so little Nipper's chances of survival are grim. According to Animals Asia Foundation,
"River dolphins are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity. Reports suggest that of more than 100 Amazon River dolphins taken into captivity since 1965, the vast majority of individuals died within months of removal from the wild. Today, as far as we are aware, only five wild-caught Amazon River dolphins remain in captivity. Similar efforts to capture and breed China’s Yangtze River dolphin (also known as the baiji) have also failed. The baiji is now considered to be functionally extinct in the wild and there are no baiji alive in captivity."
Richard Tesore, head of the NGO Rescate Fauna Marina offers Nipper a bottle.
For more photos and to learn more about Nipper's rehabilitation, visit Global Animal (www.globalanimal.org)