In early 2012, the Bolivian river dolphin, or bufeo, was formally recognized as a species by the Society of Marine Mammalogy’s Committee of Taxonomy. Previously the genus Inia had been considered monospecific with three subspecies of Inia geoffrensis: I. g. humboldtiana in the Orinoco Basin, I. g. geoffrensis in the Amazon Basin, and I. g. boliviensis in the rivers of the Bolivia. The Bolivian bufeo is isolated from dolphin populations in the rest of Amazonia by geographic barriers, such as the waterfalls that extend for more than 400 km between Guayanamerin and Porto Velho in Brazil.
Although the two presently recognized Inia species overlap in all morphological characters, they have been reproductively isolated from each other for a considerable period, and two independent lines of genetic evidence, from mtDNA and nuclear introns, suggest that they are on separate evolutionary trajectories and deserve recognition as phylogenetic species. The new species have not yet been evaluated for the IUCN Red List but this will occur in due course.