National Geographic : 2011 Mar
PHOTOS: DADO GALDIERI TOP ; DEBAPRATIM SAHA. NGM MAPS CONSERVATION Dolphin Delivery The pink river dolphin of Bolivia is the landlocked country's only cetacean---a colorful but unprotected character known locally as the bufeo. No wonder, then, that scientists and environmentalists scrambled last spring after 20 of these mammals got stuck in a half-mile-long, five-foot-deep part of the drought-stricken Pailas River, a tributary of the Grande River. By August a rescue was under way. Workers led by Enzo Aliaga- Rossel (above, at far left) and another zoologist spent 12 days hoist- ing dolphins into boats with fishing nets and covering them with wet cloths. They were then placed in tanks in mattress-padded trucks and transported three hours, by land and water, to a release site on the Grande. All were saved, says Aliaga-Rossel, adding that greater human awareness is key to a rosy bufeo future. ---Catherine Zuckerman Elephants at Risk The protected pachyderms of West Bengal, India---such as those in the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (left)---are hardly out of harm's way. In fact, since 2004, 27 have been killed by trains barreling down the hundred miles of track that run where they roam. Now the Ministry of Railways is under pressure from conservationists and the environmental ministry to enforce speed limits, reduce travel at night (when most casualties occur), and prune vegetation to improve the driver's view. ---CZ 0mi 150 0km150 Dolphin rescue Gr ande Pailas River La Paz Sucre Santa Cruz BOLIVIA BRAZIL AREA ENLARGED SOUTH AMERICA Rescuers pull a dolphin from the too shallow Pailas River in Bolivia.