Threats and Dangers to Dolphin Survival
Wild dolphins face many natural dangers within the deep expanse of the ocean, however the most overwhelming threat to their existence is man.
Although some dolphin species are considered an endangered species, alarming statistics suggest that more and more dolphins are being killed by illegal dynamite fishing, being caught in fishing nets, collisions with boats and or propellers, marine pollution, disease and beaching due to sonar interference than ever before.
Research suggests that over 95% of dolphin deaths are directly attributable to man-related causes. Some of the dolphin threats related to man are:
The capture and subsequent holding of dolphins in research and aquarium facilities is contributing to their deaths at an alarming rate. Researchers suggest that the capture process itself is resulting in an increased number of deaths among dolphins. The capture procedures, the transportation of the captured dolphins, the exposure to disease in captivity, are only some of the threats that dolphins face when they are taken from their natural environment.
The increased popularity of swimming with dolphins programs have brought more and more dolphins into danger as their feeding and breeding areas are being invaded by tourists.
“The most dangerous threat to Dolphin existence is man.
Research suggests that over 95% of dolphin deaths are directly attributable to causes related to man.”
Unstoppable Chemical Pollution
An increasing threat to dolphins in the wild is the contamination of their natural habitat from oil, chemical and heavy metals pollution. Pollution manifests itself in illness and high infant mortality rates. Since dolphins are at the top of the food chain, the impact of contamination is much higher as Dolphins eat fish and plants that may have been contaminated in different places, increasing the risk to themselves.
Noise pollution is also a great danger to dolphins in the wild. Activities like oil drilling, navigational sonars and even ship engines create continuos streams of underwater noise that can frighten, disorient or even injure the dolphins. Besides, noise pollution force sometimes dolphins to move away from their feeding and breeding areas, causing different problems.
Another cause of death for the dolphins is the injuries suffered by the entanglement in cages, shark safety nets and fishing nets as well as collisions with ships and rotor blades. As we explore more and more the ocean and their “habitat”, we’re bringing the dangers to them. Despite that some dolphin species are considered an endangered species, some of them are still the target of sport fishing and they are often shot to reduce their presence in fishing areas or even for bait.
The Natural Causes
In addition to the threats introduced by men into their habitat, wild dolphins are also at the mercy of nature, as any other animal. Regardless they are at the top of the food chain, till they have to compete with sharks and toothed whales for food. The effect of Global Warming or seasonal weather changes have caused the loss of food sources, impacting the survival rates of dolphins in the wild. Altough there are several laws already approved to protect dolphins, it seems that their enforcement is erratic to say the least. Dolphins are disappearing at an alarming rate.