Over the past week, a devastating environmental crisis unfolded in the Brazilian Amazon as more than a hundred dolphins were discovered lifeless, primarily in Lake Tefé. This distressing event is a result of a historic drought and soaring water temperatures, exceeding 102 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. The Mamirauá Institute, backed by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, confirmed this alarming number of dolphin fatalities and pointed to the exceptionally high lake temperatures and the Amazon’s record-breaking drought as likely causes. Climate scientists are increasingly worried about the implications for the fragile Amazon ecosystem and the impact of human activities in the region. Moreover, the Amazon River, the world’s largest, is currently in its dry season, exacerbating the situation and endangering various river fauna species. Efforts are underway to rescue surviving dolphins by relocating them from remote lagoons and ponds to the main river, where the water is cooler, although this operation is challenging due to the region’s isolation.

André Coelho, a researcher at the Mamirauá Institute, emphasized the need to assess for toxins or viruses before releasing river dolphins into different rivers, as it carries inherent risks. The drought’s impact extends beyond the ecological realm, affecting the local economy. Approximately 59 municipalities in Amazonas State have reported below-average water levels, disrupting transportation and fishing activities on the river. Authorities are preparing for more severe droughts in the upcoming weeks, which could further worsen the dolphin mortality rate, according to CNN Brasil reports.