Estimating the life expectancy of 40 or so species of dolphin can be challenging.
Luckily there are some facts and estimates that have been acquired about the dolphin species to help bring clarity to this topic.
There is also a list at the end of this article with estimates for the life expectancies of several dolphin species.
The average life expectancy of a dolphin can determined by a number of varying factors such as the dolphins habitat, geography, diet, level of endangerment (which can affect its ability to repopulate) and the dolphins species.
Female killer whales for example have been known to live for as many as 90 years, although the average life expectancy for a female killer whale is usually around 50 years.
Male killer whales may live to be 50 – 60 years old, but generally only live until around the age of 30.
When brought up in captivity a killer whales live expectancy dramatically declines and most killer whales usually don’t live past their 20′s.
As you can see a dolphins environment and diet can play a huge role in determining how long they are likely to live.
Dolphins that live in captivity may have shorter lifespans than those in the wild, despite being in a protected environment.
Factors such as diet (captive dolphins are fed a strict diet), a closed environment (being separated from the ocean) and a lack of a strong social structure (being separated from family and potential friends) may all contribute to the shorter lifespan of captive dolphins.
A dolphins species also plays a big role in determining how long a dolphin will live.
For example the Amazon river dolphin ( a freshwater dolphin) has a life expectancy of only 15 – 20 years while the Stripped dolphin may live to be 50 – 60 years.
Below is a list of the estimated life expectancies of several dolphin species
- The Amazon river dolphin has a 15 – 20 year lifespan on average although some river dolphins may live into their 30′s
- The Baiji dolphin has a 20 – 25 year lifespan
- The Dusky dolphin has a 20 – 25 year lifespan
- Hector’s dolphin has a 15 – 20 year lifespan
- The Chinese river dolphin has an average life span of 25 years
- The Common bottlenose dolphin has a 20 – 50 year lifespan (20 – 30 year lifespan on average)
- The Irrawaddy dolphin has a 25 – 30 year lifespan
- Maui’s dolphin has a 20 year lifespan on average although some dolphins may live into their 30′s
- The Killer whale has a 30 – 50 year lifespan (some killer whales have been estimated to live for over 90 years while captive killer whales have an average lifespan of 25 years or less)
- The Stripped dolphin has a 50 – 60 year lifespan
- The Yangtze river dolphin has a 20 – 25 year lifespan