Stop the killing of Boto river dolphins in the Amazon

The problem

  • Thousands of Boto dolphins are illegally hunted in the Amazon every year, mostly for bait to catch Piracatinga catfish. 
  • During a hunt, dolphins are corralled into nets and harpooned by fishermen. The dolphins are then tied by their tail flukes to submerged trees, usually while still alive, and left until the fishermen return to later kill them.
  • The pain and stress that these gentle and curious animals endure is unimaginable.

The solution 

  • The Brazilian government has outlawed the sale of piracatinga catfish over the next 5 years due to the link of this activity with the illegal killing of Amazon River dolphins.
  • The government is now working with the national fishing industry to develop different ways of catching Piracatinga.
  • They have also committed to creating a governmental task force to protect the dolphins.

What we're doing

  • Now, it's Colombia's turn, the primary market for the piracatinga, to help save the river dolphin.
  • We're urging Colombian officials, as we did in Brazil, to curb the sale of Piracatinga and improve law enforcement to protect dolphins. 
  • We’re also asking Colombian supermarkets to stop selling the Piracatinga fish, and the Colombian public to stop buying it.


You can help end this cruelty. Join the 162,500 supporters who have already added their voice to the campaign.


Please sign and share our petition.


To: Honorable Ms. María Ángela Holguín Cuellar, Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs 


The Amazon River dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), a cetacean that lives in the rivers of the Amazon basin, is under threat. Systematically hunted down and killed in a cruel way, their population is falling at a rate of 10% annually. 


This happens because the meat of the river dolphin is being used as bait to catch the piracatinga catfish, a fish exported primarily to Colombia, where it is sold deceitfully as capaz or capacete—another species. Unknowingly, the Colombian consumer is indirectly promoting the killing of river dolphins in the Amazon.


The Brazilian government has taken the first step to end the illegal killing of river dolphins. Starting in January 2015, the fishing and sale of the piracatinga catfish are prohibited for five years throughout Brazil. 

But we know this is not enough and that this fish may continue to be sold illegally in Colombia, which has acknowledged the public’s call for change and has shown interest in helping find a solution to this problem. While we appreciate the initiative of the Colombian government, we urge them to make a stronger commitment to achieve real change for dolphins. 


For this reason, I request that you, in your capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, to take urgent measures to resolve the international problem of killing river dolphins, by offering a response in line with the one taken by Brazil of suspending the sale of piracatinga catfish.


The sooner this is done, the more lives of river dolphins we can save in the Amazon. Lend your support to ending the cruelty against the Amazon River dolphin by prohibiting the sale of piracatinga catfish in Colombia.