POSTED: June 5th 2012

Rio 2016: Brazilian pink dolphins and spider monkeys as mascots for the Games?

The Brazilian pink dolphin is risking extinction
The Brazilian pink dolphin is risking extinction

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

June 5 – It’s World Environment Day and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is on a  key coordination commission visit to the Rio 2016 Olympics venues. What better time to think of a meaningful and significant mascot for the Games.

Could you dream up anything any more beautiful than a real live pink dolphin? Or a devilishly clever little Muriqui wooly spider monkey?

Native to the rivers of the Amazon basin the Brazilian pink river dolphin is an endangered species and in need of protection against extinction.

Even UNEP ambassador and Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen has posted information to spread awareness on her fashionably responsible blog on the environment.

These exquisite animals are often used as catfish bait by local fishermen and at the moment the Ethics Committee for Animal Use in Research INPA – CEUA and their president, Vera M. F. da Silva, are on a mission to help save the legendary species.  

What better way to give back to the domestic ecosystem than to choose a mascot with a purpose.

Da Silva said in an interview on Bundchen’s Blog, “It is important for people to know the importance of dolphins in the Amazonian aquatic ecosystem and learn how to appreciate their inherent value.

"The pink dolphin is part of the culture and folklore of the Amazon, and we can’t let the commercial fisheries drive this charismatic, one-of-a-kind species towards extinction. We can’t let the pink dolphin turn into a legend.

“It is necessary to produce quality educational materials with easy access for children, schools, fishing colonies, teaching about the pink dolphin, its role in maintaining the health of fish stocks and the balance of the aquatic ecosystem so that people value this mythical and legendary Brazilian character.”

Rio 2016 could make a powerful statement by choosing to help the pink dolphins by making them a mascot to spread awareness. Part of the merchandise sales could be channeled back into preservation practices for future generations.

Muriqui Monkeys

Another adorable Brazilian character who is risking extinction is the Muriqui monkey and there is an environmental group that has already started the "Muriqui Rio 2016" campaign to get them nominated as mascots. did a story last year about the wooly spider monkeys.

See their Facebook page:

Rio has two wonderful contenders to become the animated faces of the Games and give them a chance to make a green statement!

Keywords · Rio 2016 · pink dolphins · muriqui monkeys · Amazon · Rio +20

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Laura Walden ()

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