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The history of Instituto mix with a love story by Guiana-dolphins. In 1997, a biology student from Minas Gerais state meets and falls in love by a dolphins population from Sepetiba Bay and decides to devote himself to study them. In 2009, already master in the subject, finds, at Internet, a social entrepreneur from Rio de Janeiro who dreamed about seeing a single dolphin in nature.

   “I see hundreds of dolphins daily”, he said.

   “You must be kidding”, she said: “how can you see so many dolphins, if in 33 years of life I could see none in nature?

The course of this dialogue led to the Instituto Boto Cinza’s foundation, a marriage, children and much love and dedication to the Guiana-dolphins from Sepetiba Bay.

It’s for these dolphins that we wake up every day and we work for our grandchildren to have the same pleasure to see this hundreds of dolphins (known as aggregations), which is rare to observe around the world.

Once, we went to the field with a group of researchers from the genetics laboratory of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, who were visiting us for a knowledge exchange. As soon as we went out on board from the marina, the bad weather surprised us, but as it was a unique opportunity, we decided to continue our trip to the local where the dolphins form these aggregations. So, something magic happened! Likewise the bad weather appeared, it disappeared, and in the horizon, we could see a lot of little black spots dancing in front of the sunrise. They were the Guiana-dolphins! Little by little, they were taking shape as we approached the boat until we saw ourselves among hundreds of dolphins. I confess I never saw anything so beautiful in my life! Moments like these motivate us to fight for the survival of this specie. And these kinds of feelings motivate the Instituto Boto Cinza and our volunteers, who devote their time in favor of so many others lives.


You know, the Guiana-dolphin is a wary species, and do not behave like other dolphin´s species, which bowride or allows close contact by humans, but they are equally charming and curious and sometimes we can look at their eyes while they jump nearly the boat. The gregariouness behavior it show us is unique and nowhere else it can be seen in such larger number, which makes this population even more special! How do not be motivated to wake up daily and fight for them, so they get what is rightfully theirs, a life in a balanced and healthy environment!


The researches about this species shows us fascinating things like the care which moms devote to their babies during the first two years of life, something very rare in the animal kingdom, but they also reveal alarming facts like the Guiana dolphins’ from Guanabara Bay, which are the most contaminated animals in the world. That inspire us to fight for conservation policies, to offer quality environmental education and to continue learning more and more about them.

Elaine Ferreira

Founder and current president director of Instituto Boto Cinza.

Elaine Ferreira,

the social entrepreneur from Rio de Janeiro who left everything in 2009, because of dolphins.

Leonardo Flach,

the biologist from Minas Gerais who gained a lot of white hair fighting for the Guiana-dolphins!

Dra. Mariana B. Alonso,

colaboradora científica, pesquisadora da UFRJ, mais de 15 anos de experiência em Ecotoxicologia e Conservação de Cetáceos

A little of what happens here...

This vídeo was made in the end of Abrace o Boto-Cinza Project, with Petrobras sponsorship, through Petrobras Socioambiental Program, executed from 2013 to 2015.

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