Published: June 2009

Amazon Dolphins

Amazon dolphin

River Spirits

Tracking prey deep in the forest, freshwater dolphins make the most of the Amazon’s prodigious annual flood.

By Mark Jenkins
Photograph by Kevin Schafer

The dolphins are swimming through the trees. Bending sinuous bodies, they glide through branches and curl like snakes around fluted trunks. As frog-green fish dart through the leaves, the dolphins, pink as bubble gum, snap at them with long, toothy beaks.

This is not some kaleidoscopic dreamscape from a novel by Gabriel García Márquez; this is the wet season in the upper Amazon, downstream from Iquitos, Peru. The river has flooded the rain forest, luring freshwater dolphins to hunt in the woods.

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