River dolphin conservation

Amazon, WDCS


The Amazon River dolphin is an endangered species. Due to the destruction of their habitat and a lack of education among the local population many aquatic species in the Amazon are at risk of disappearing forever.


In cooperation with the local population, the project builds environmental aware­­ness among re­sidents and re­duces the threats to the river dolphins. This in­­cludes the collection of scientific data, which pro­vides a basis for long-term con­­servation.




A look back at 2012 for NATÜTAMA

Natütama is looking back on an eventful year. The organisation has developed multiple various methods for protecting the natural resources of the Amazon region. Rooted in the heart of the local Ticuna culture, Natütama is now anchored in the everyday lives of countless people. Read on

“Carnival of Animals” in Amazonas

Since the beginning of 2012 the Natütama Foundation has mentored five junior ecology groups in communities in the Puerto Nariño area. Each group has between 10 and 20 children and is led by one of the Natütama indigenous educators. Read on

Anniversary of Airuwe’s release

In spring 2002 Airuwe, a male Amazonian manatee, was returned to the wild by the community of Puerto Nariño and Sarita Kendall, founder of Fundacion Natütama. He had been captured in a net near Puerto Nariño in mid 1998, had been wounded by fishermen and then transferred to Sarita Kendall. She and colleagues cared for Airuwe focusing on his reintroduction. Read on

More manatees and dolphins - Natütama Summary 2011

The Natütama-Interpretation Centre has now been open for 6 years and we have received more than 29.000 visitors since the inauguration. The Centre is proving to be a powerful education/conservation tool and an effective way of strengthening cultural “memory” in the environmental context. Read on

Natütama Week, June 13-17 2011, Puerto Narino, Amazonas

Every year the foundation celebrates Natütama week in June, choosing a conservation theme which will resound throughout the community. This year the theme was "The Tarapoto Lakes, home to all creatures" and from the beginning the Tarapoto indigenous community was involved in the celebrations around their lake. Read on

Conservation of the Amazon river dolphin

The two main directions of this project are the conservation of aquatic species like river dolphins and Manatees as well as awareness  and knowledge building across local communities.  The project aims to … Read on

Project Description

River dolphins and other aquatic species in the Amazon face a variety of threats. These residents of the Amazon can only survive if their habitat is protected from destruction. Together with local indigenous communities, the organisation WDCS wants to achieve widespread conservation of river dolphins and other aquatic species. The two main objectives of this project are the conservation of aquatic species like river dolphins and manatees as well as awareness and knowledge building across local communities. 

Targeted developments in the project region

  • Reduction of deadly threats for wild animals (such as conflict with fishermen) living by and in the water. These efforts should be spread throughout the neighbouring countries in order to ensure the recovery of endangered river dolphins and manatees in an adequately-sized region.
  • Collection of scientific data on distribution, death rate and habitat use of river dolphins, manatees, turtles, heron and sloths to help inform communities, decision makers, politicians, governments and scientists about the region as well as serve the future development and evaluation of conservation strategies with communities, science and policy.
  • Boost a local sense of responsibility that will be spurred on by children, adolescents and teachers through environmental activities.
  • Preservation of traditional knowledge about flora and fauna together with the indigenous population through regular events and co-designed teaching materials. These events and materials should strike a balance between tradition, modernity and science, conveying to future community management that they should be aware of the region’s diversity and abundance in order to protect natural resources long-term.
  • Encourage the independence of fishermen and trainers so that a culture of nature conservation among the local communities and visitors can be established.
  • Promotion of ‘The Action Plan for South American River Dolphins 2010-2020’ and involvement of decision makers, universities, government departments and NGOs at the international meeting in Brazil.

The project fosters a sensitive treatment of the existing cultural values and empowers the local population through education and awareness building techniques which allow the communities to address these issues on their own. This approach provides a model for each country along the Amazon, demonstrating a means of preserving the habitats of river dolphins and other aquatic species.

Activities undertaken in the Amazon region are accompanied by local, national and international campaigns and lobbying efforts in order to ensure comprehensive protection of river dolphins.

WDC – Whale and Dolphin Conservation

WDC aims to definitively eradicate all threats posed to whales and dolphins, build public awareness of ocean and river dwellers and promote the need to protect them in their natural habitats. WDC is a partner of Agreement of the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Sea (ACCOBAMS), the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn Convention), and is a member of the Species Survival Network (SSN).

WCD collaborates on the ground with the Colombia-based organisation Natütama (meaning “everything underwater”). Natütama has been successfully active in the region for over a decade and is highly reputed and well positioned in the area, thanks to its active indigenous fishermen and instructors. The experienced project team comprises field researchers, conservationists and indigenous residents who have taken on the duty of preserving Amazon habitats. A team of more than 20 indigenous instructors and fishermen carry out the activities within the communities. 

Learn more about WDC

Learn more about Natütama