Yangtze River Dolphins to be more protected
Amy Judd | September 30, 2008 at 01:26 pmby
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The Chinese government are again stepping in to protect the Yangtze River Dolphins from extinction.
The network was initiated by the aquatic and wildlife protection office of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and is funded by donors including WWF-China.
“WWF started working on Yangtze dolphin conservation as early as 2002 and I am very happy to join the Yangtze Dolphin Network today,” said Dr. Wang Limin, WWF-China’s deputy director of conservation operations. “It is of big significance to dolphin protection efforts in China and around the world.”
Human activities such as illegal fishing, pollution and shipping have hit the Baiji dolphin and finless porpoise hard, causing their numbers to dramatically decline over the last few years.
During a Yangtze Freshwater dolphin expedition in 2006 no Baiji dolphins were found, while the population of the finless porpoise has dropped to an estimated 1,800, half the number found in the 1990s.
“It is necessary to integrate each nature reserve to effectively protect the Baiji dolphin and finless porpoise,” said Fan Xiangguo, director of aquatic wildlife protection at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Yangtze Dolphin has been helped immensely by the Chinese government, by setting up six nature reserves and two monitoring sites. The dolphin helps protect the river and the people.
The Baiji Dolphin is found only in the Yangtze River in China, and have declined rapidly in recent years due to China industrializing the use of the river for fishing, transportation and hydroelectricity.
In 2006, no Baiji could be found in the river at all, but in 2007, there was a sighting of one, but the mammal is still just teetering on the brink of extinction and is extremely likely to become extinct in the next few years if something is not done right away.
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