Baiji River Dolphin extinction

From: Orca Network (howard@orcanetwork.org)
Date: Sun May 25 2003 - 11:57:00 EDT

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    Hi. I'm wondering about the bajij Dolphin and there where abouts of the
    decline in the population.Can you please provide me with some information
    that would help understand what is being done and what cause the Bajij to
    become the most endangered Whale in the world.

    To put it simply, the cause of the imminent extinction of the Baiji River
    Dolphin is overpopulation and over industrialization. These are global
    problems requiring worldwide responses. Every nation and every individual
    needs to be a member of the global community to begin solving these
    problems, because the end of the Baiji is only one sign of the increasing
    loss of species and overall natural diversity everywhere on Earth.

    A Google search found:
      http://www.cetacea.org/baiji.htm:

    Estimated Current Population: The number of Baiji dolphins fell drastically
    from 6,000 in the 1950s to 400 in 1984. Now only an estimated 5 animals
    remain. The world's most endangered cetacean.

    http://www.irn.org/programs/threeg/991103.baiji.html:
    Hidden in the muddy waters of the Yangzi River there dwells an ancient
    species of dolphin nearly unchanged by 20 million years of evolution.
    Throughout the ages China's poets and scholars have written of the "baiji",
    or "white dolphin" - the legendary goddess of the Yangzi River. Today the
    Yangzi River basin is home to 12 percent of humanity (75 million people).
    Riverside towns are rapidly growing into sprawling cities and industrial
    complexes as Beijing spreads the burgeoning wealth of China's prosperous
    eastern seaboard inland along the river to the rural heartland. What was
    once a lazy river and freshwater haven where dolphin could live out their
    30-year lives free from the predators which threatened their cousins living
    in the sea, has become an abused high-energy artery from the East China sea
    to the interior.

    The Baiji is losing it's fight against increasing industrialization of it's
    natural habitat.

    Other names for it include Chinese River Dolphin, Yangtze River Dolphin,
    and Lipotes Vixillifer (its Latin name). It is found in the Middle and
    Lower reaches of the Yangtze, the surrounding tributaries, Lake Tungting,
    and Lake Dongting.

    The Influence of Man: Baiji have to compete with humans for food within all
    their habitat. Fishing gear alone causes over half of dolphin deaths, with
    many others being caused by run-ins with boat propellers. The massive Three
    Gorges Dam and draining of the river as part of a land reclaim project also
    adds to the mortalities. A lone male, Qi Qi, is held in captivity, but his
    wild cousins' future looks bleak.

    You can find the story of the Baiji River Dolphin at:
    http://www2.newpaltz.edu/~rowe22/

    Howard Garrett
    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451
    www.orcanetwork.org
    howard@orcanetwork.org



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