Amazon River Dolphin

(Inia geoffrensis)


Amazon River Dolphin IUCN DATA DEFICIENT (DD)


Facts about this animal

The Amazon River dolphin is characterised by a melon-shaped head, a long tubelike beak, a low dorsal ridge and very small though functional eyes. There are 24 to 34 teeth on each side of each jaw, the front teeth being conical in shape and the rear being molariform.


Adults reach a length of about 3 m, and their body weight varies from 85-120 kg. Newborn Amazon River dolphins are 70-83 cm long and weigh about 12 kg.


Three suspecies are recognized: I. g. geoffrensis in the Amazon basin (except for the Madeira drainage in Bolivia above the Teotonio rapids); I. g. boliviensi in the upper Madeira drainage; and I. g. humboldtiana in the Orinoco basin.

Did you know?
that the Amazon river dolphin is able to move its neck as the neck vertebrae are not fused together as in most other dolphins? This enables them to bend the neck to the side or down, which is very usefull when they swim through flooded forests.


Name (Scientific) Inia geoffrensis
Name (English) Amazon River Dolphin
Name (French) Dauphin de l'Amazone; Inia
Name (German) Amazonasdelfin
Name (Spanish) Bufeo
Local names Brasil: Boufo
Guarayo: Inia
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
CC by-nc-sa 2010 Joachim S. Müller



Range South America, in the Amazon-Orinoco river systems (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela)
Habitat Only in freshwater. In a variety of riverine habitat types with slow-moving water, including rivers, small channels and lakes. During the high-water season also in flooded forest and grasslands.
Wild population Population size is unknown and precise data on trends are insufficient for any of the three subspecies.
Zoo population Outside South America there are only two very old males in the Zoo Duisburg, which were imported in 1975..

In the Zoo

Amazon River Dolphin


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 55 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
CC by-nc-sa 2010 Joachim S. Müller

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Amazon River dolphin is vulnerable but certainly not dependent of an ex situ insurance population. Amazon River dolphins are, therefore, primarily kept for educational purposes to show the adaptation of a whale species to a freshwater habitat, and as an ambassador species for the endangered rainforest and river habitats of tropical South America.