Five Amazon River Pink Dolphin Myths

April 20, 2010
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Spotting the first light-pink river dolphin rippling the murky waters is an excursion highlight for everyone on our Amazon River cruise. After their last Amazon tour aboard La Amatista, our friends at WWF shared five myths about the Amazon's pink river dolphins they learned from our Peruvian naturalists.

  1. During the day, river dolphins conduct their usual dolphin business. But once the sun goes down, they morph into handsome young men dressed in all white. They come ashore, strictly for the purpose of seducing the wives and women of local villages.
  2. Someone swimming alone in the river could be whisked away by a shape-shifting dolphin to a magical underwater city called Encante. They'll live out the rest of their lives there, never to return to land again. Perhaps this myth started as a way to get people, particularly youngsters, to be careful when swimming. The dolphins can bite, as can the piranhas that patrol the Amazon and its tributaries.
  3. If you wish to find a rare Amazonian manatee, you must first locate an Amazon dolphin and make peace with it. The dolphin is considered the manatee's guardian.
  4. Don't ever make eye contact with a pink dolphin or you'll have nightmares for the rest of your life.
  5. It's bad luck to kill an Amazon river dolphin — and even worse luck to eat one. Many Indian tribes still consider them to be sacred creatures and thus bestow a great deal of reverence on them. Rainforest-dwelling shamans have been known to learn medicinal techniques from the dolphins.

© World Wildlife Fund. Reprinted with Permission.