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Yangtzse River dolphin 'now extinct'
Telegraph ^ | 08 Aug 2007 | Roger Highfield

Posted on 08/08/2007 8:38:26 AM PDT by BGHater

The Yangtze River dolphin enjoys a rare and depressing distinction, according to new research.

The grey white, long-beaked animal is the world's first cetacean -the order of whales, dolphins and porpoises -to be made extinct by man, concludes an international team that has conducted comprehensive surveys of its habitat.

The demise of the near-blind mammal also represents the first extinction of a large vertebrate (backboned animal) for more than 50 years, since overhunting claimed the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s. A zoologist said it was a "shocking tragedy."

The paper, lead-authored by Dr Sam Turvey of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), is published in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters and blames its extinction on a degraded habitat in the Yangtze waters of eastern China.

With little need to see in the shallow, turbid Yangtze waters, the dolphin - for centuries called the Goddess of the Yangtze and the subject of myth and legend - evolved a highly effective sonar above its beak.

But the roar of marine traffic along one of China's premier waterways effectively blinded it. Ships and tourist boats sucked them into their propellers, pollution poisoned their river home and, most of all, they suffered because of overfishing.

In the 1950s several thousand baiji, as the dolphins are known in Chinese, were thought to swim in the Yangtze. The last authenticated record was in 2001. By the end of 2006, an expedition by the team triggered reports that the creature was functionally extinct, suggesting only one or two individuals at most survived. Now the team concludes it is probably extinct.

Dr Turvey said: "The primary factor responsible for the baiji's extinction was probably unsustainable by-catch in uncontrolled and unselective local fisheries, which use rolling hook long lines, nets and electro-fishing.

"Relatively little information remains available on causes of baiji mortality, but between 40-50 per cent of all known baiji deaths over the past few decades were caused by fishing gear. "

"The loss of such a unique and charismatic species is a shocking tragedy. The Yangtze River dolphin was a remarkable mammal that separated from all other species over 20m years ago.

"This extinction represents the disappearance of a complete branch of the evolutionary tree of life and emphasises that we have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet."

At the Hydrobiology Institute in Wuhan, the story of the stuffed, enamelled body of Qi-Qi, the most famous Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) to have lived in captivity tells how the march of modernisation transformed the dolphin's river home in silty waters into its graveyard.

The dolphin was found badly bruised, the victim of illegal fishing, in 1980. A female was introduced to his enclosure once but she died before she was old enough to reproduce.

"This wasn't the only Yangtze dolphin kept in captivity - there were actually several over the years," said Dr Turvey. "However, Qi-Qi lived for over 22 years, was the last surviving captive baiji, and became the most famous baiji individual.

Dr Turvey added, "The baiji's extinction also highlights the need for new conservation initiatives in China's increasingly threatened Yangtze ecosystem, which is also home to endangered freshwater porpoises, seven-metre long fish, giant salamanders and white Siberian cranes."

Scientists and environmentalists are now focusing on saving its cousin, the finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides). About 2,700 porpoises lived along the Yangtze in 1991 but the population is now "rapidly declining," he said.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: china; dolphin; godsgravesglyphs; porpoisedrivenlife; river; science; yangtze; yangtzse
Yangtzse River dolphin: 'The loss of such a unique and charismatic species is a shocking tragedy'
1 posted on 08/08/2007 8:38:28 AM PDT by BGHater
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To: BGHater

What a truly sad loss.

China : Wildlife :: Michael Vick : Dogs


2 posted on 08/08/2007 8:40:12 AM PDT by Red in Blue PA (Truth : Liberals :: Kryptonite : Superman)
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To: BGHater

I wonder how he was prepared, and what wine was used?


3 posted on 08/08/2007 8:40:22 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: BGHater

The grey white, long-beaked animal is the world’s first cetacean...to be made extinct by man.

Correction: Made extinct by the Chinese Communists


4 posted on 08/08/2007 8:41:06 AM PDT by PurpleMan
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To: BGHater

I think that in China, “illegal fishing” is when you fish without paying someone off. The chinese government doesn’t care much about humans, so why would they care about a fish?


5 posted on 08/08/2007 8:44:14 AM PDT by subterfuge (Today, Tolerance =greatest virtue;Hypocrisy=worst character defect; Discrimination =worst atrocity)
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To: BGHater
Ships and tourist boats sucked them into their propellers, pollution poisoned their river home and, most of all, they suffered because of overfishing.

Shocking news from the People's Republic of Red China? Not.

It's surprising they lasted that long.

6 posted on 08/08/2007 8:47:58 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: BGHater

Is it gone or is the water so polluted that it left?.......


7 posted on 08/08/2007 8:48:04 AM PDT by Red Badger (All I know about Minnesota, I learned from Garrison Keilor.............)
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To: PurpleMan
The grey white, long-beaked animal is the world’s first cetacean...to be made extinct by man.

Correction: Made extinct by the Chinese Communists

And environmentalism is the modern cover for communists, so this is the worlds first cetacean to be made extinct by environmentalists.

8 posted on 08/08/2007 8:54:44 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Zimbabwe, leftist success story, the envy of Venezuela)
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To: Red Badger

You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed! No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed. So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary. They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary in search of some water that isn't so smeary.

9 posted on 08/08/2007 8:55:38 AM PDT by T.Smith
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To: BGHater

China is in the midst of building the world’s largest dam across the Yangtze ... I suppose that also was a contributing factor.


10 posted on 08/08/2007 8:55:42 AM PDT by meandog (Bush's name now synonymous with every bad word known.)
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To: BGHater

I’m shocked that Klintoon’s good friend and Strategic Partner, Red China, would allow their rivers to become so polluted that indigenous species would go extinct. /sarc


11 posted on 08/08/2007 9:05:50 AM PDT by lesser_satan (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: meandog

It was Bush’s fault.


12 posted on 08/08/2007 9:06:29 AM PDT by never4get (Alas, Black John Rackham be me, arrrr. 'Tis the sobriquet that makes the difference.)
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To: BGHater

Is it extinct, or just exitnct in the wild? I know I have seen examples of this species in captivity, or have all those passed as well?


13 posted on 08/08/2007 9:11:45 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: BGHater
Ships and tourist boats sucked them into their propellers

Simply attaching a cage around the propellers would have eliminated that problem.

14 posted on 08/08/2007 9:12:03 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: Navy Patriot

Excellent. Following logic to it’s conclusion.


15 posted on 08/08/2007 9:28:15 AM PDT by PurpleMan
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To: BGHater
The grey white, long-beaked animal is the world's first cetacean -the order of whales, dolphins and porpoises -to be made extinct by man

It should be honored in being a pioneer. But there are a lot more cetaceans out there, people ...

16 posted on 08/08/2007 9:30:53 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: IronJack
Correct
17 posted on 08/08/2007 9:35:28 AM PDT by Inquisitive1 (I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance - Socrates)
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To: BGHater

“Yangtzse River dolphin ‘now extinct’”

Stan: Dude, dolphins are intelligent and friendly.
Cartman: Intelligent and friendly on rye bread with some mayonnaise.


18 posted on 08/08/2007 9:37:04 AM PDT by Hacklehead (Liberals, replacing what works with what doesn't since 1940.)
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To: BGHater
If this had happened in the Mississippi River, it would be the top news. It would lead to massive rallies allowing enviro-wackos to spout off constantly for months about how Evil America is. There would be arsons of tourist and fishing boats up and down the river, close to college campuses of course (see Animal Liberation Front's history of arson attacks).

It's China though, so the Sierra Club/Greenpeace crowd is silent.

19 posted on 08/08/2007 9:52:00 AM PDT by Chipper
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To: BGHater

Well, if you believe in Evolution you can still hope that another dolphin will evolve to take its place. No big deal.


20 posted on 08/08/2007 9:52:10 AM PDT by fish hawk (The religion of Darwinism = Monkey Intellect)
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To: BGHater

!Taste rike chricken!


21 posted on 08/08/2007 9:57:54 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: BGHater

Given the extreme concentration and focus of Chinese civilization and population around mailand China’s rivers and its ocean coasts - for more than 1,000 years - I am surprized this animal was not extinct before now. I wonder how many species of animal in Asia went extinct already - during the period of civilized humanity - before modern societies started tracking such events.

I wonder what competitors the Buffalo helped to extinction during the period when “native” Americans did all they could to insure the Buffalo’s dominance of the great plains.


22 posted on 08/08/2007 10:01:56 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: BGHater

....somehow the US (and George Bush) will get blamed for this....


23 posted on 08/08/2007 10:23:22 AM PDT by Tzimisce (How Would Mohammed Vote? Hillary for President! www.dndorks.com)
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To: BGHater

Don’t know how true it is but I once read that 99% of all species that have ever lived on this planet are now extinct.


24 posted on 08/08/2007 10:24:32 AM PDT by Clink
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To: fish hawk

These things only lived in a very small part of one river in one country of the world. They didn’t mate well, and they were mostly blind. This species is was not exactly an evolutionary powerhouse. The idea that evolution on Earth has some how been stopped by environmenatl awarness is silly. There were only 5000 of these things 2300 years ago. It’s amazing they made it this long.


25 posted on 08/08/2007 10:24:42 AM PDT by azcap
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To: BGHater

Up next for China’s extinction program - human girls.


26 posted on 08/08/2007 10:25:42 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Red Badger
Is it gone or is the water so polluted that it left?.......

Left for where?

27 posted on 08/08/2007 10:27:50 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: azcap
"This species is was not exactly an evolutionary powerhouse."

And yet they've been around for 20 million years.
28 posted on 08/08/2007 10:27:54 AM PDT by LIConFem (Thompson 2008. Lifetime ACU Rating: 86 -- Hunter 2008 (VP) Lifetime ACU Rating: 92)
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To: PurpleMan

“The grey white, long-beaked animal is the world’s first cetacean...to be made extinct by man.

Correction: Made extinct by the Chinese Communists”

Thank you. I noticed that too. Don’t blame this shiite on “mankind”, blame the damn Chinese, they did it.


29 posted on 08/08/2007 10:31:34 AM PDT by DesScorp
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To: BGHater

now if only the spotted owl would follow


30 posted on 08/08/2007 10:35:40 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: BGHater
I doubt it. The Yangtze water didn't kill Chairman Mao.
31 posted on 08/08/2007 10:39:50 AM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: BGHater

More proof that the Reds only pretend to be Green in order to make the world Red.


32 posted on 08/08/2007 10:40:31 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (Why did Mitt Romney cross the road??............Because there were votes on both sides, of course...)
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To: Chipper
It's China though, so the Sierra Club/Greenpeace crowd is silent.

Can't tear-jerk gobs of cash off of soccer moms and ignorant college kids in China.

33 posted on 08/08/2007 10:45:27 AM PDT by Clam Digger (NO REAL THAN YOU ARE!)
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To: Non-Sequitur

North Korea......


34 posted on 08/08/2007 10:51:16 AM PDT by Red Badger (All I know about Minnesota, I learned from Garrison Keilor.............)
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To: fish hawk
Well, if you believe in Evolution you can still hope that another dolphin will evolve to take its place. No big deal.

That's the real untold story here: they are not extinct. They have simply evolved into another species!

35 posted on 08/08/2007 10:53:24 AM PDT by Ignatz (NPC's have feelings, too!)
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To: Navy Patriot

What kind of stupid logic is that?


36 posted on 08/08/2007 10:53:59 AM PDT by stormer
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To: Red Badger
North Korea......

Or Taiwan?

37 posted on 08/08/2007 10:57:58 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: fish hawk

Or the opposite, you believe one will spontaneously appear because an inteligent design requires them to “be there”.


38 posted on 08/08/2007 11:07:00 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: longtermmemmory
Intelligent Design was in the beginning but Evolution is suppose to go on forever, right?
39 posted on 08/08/2007 11:21:31 AM PDT by fish hawk (The religion of Darwinism = Monkey Intellect)
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To: BGHater
The demise of the near-blind mammal also represents the first extinction of a large vertebrate (backboned animal) for more than 50 years, since overhunting claimed the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s.

Not true. Democratuswithabackbonus became extinct in the 1960s.

40 posted on 08/08/2007 12:31:32 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LIConFem

“This species is was not exactly an evolutionary powerhouse.”

“And yet they’ve been around for 20 million years.”

Yup. Only 20 million years. That proves how unsuccessful a species they were. If it were`nt for humans driving them to extinction, they would still be thriving and proving how unsuccessful a species they were.


41 posted on 08/08/2007 3:35:41 PM PDT by chessplayer
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To: LibWhacker

not to be confused with Republicanuswithoutspinus which is a spineless mammal...


42 posted on 08/08/2007 7:57:30 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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43 posted on 06/04/2010 7:49:20 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: chessplayer
Yup. Only 20 million years. That proves how unsuccessful a species they were. If it were`nt for humans driving them to extinction, they would still be thriving and proving how unsuccessful a species they were.

Meet the Ichthyosaur

Nature has been playing around with this form for over a hundred million years. A newer, more successful animal form has developed and it is going to replace many species on this planet that cannot compete in the new order of things. Don't be sad, its just the nature at work.

44 posted on 06/04/2010 9:11:41 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: Ignatz

George Carlin put it best:

Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control Nature! It’s arrogant meddling! It’s what got us into trouble in the first place! Doesn’t anybody understand that? Interfering with Nature! Over 90 percent.. over… way over 90 percent of all the species that have ever lived — EVER LIVED — on this planet are gone. Whissshht! They are extinct!

We didn’t kill them all.

They just… disappeared! That’s what Nature does! They disappear these days at the rate of 25 a day, and I mean regardless of our behavior. Irrespective of how we act on this planet, 25 species that were here today, will be gone tomorrow! Let them go… gracefully! Leave Nature alone! Haven’t we done enough?


45 posted on 06/04/2010 9:18:06 PM PDT by dfwgator
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