Feeds

Yangtze river dolphin is an ex-cetacean

Nature pays the price of progress

High performance access to file storage

Scientists have today declared the Yangtze river dolphin extinct after an intensive survey failed to find evidence of a single animal in the waterway.

Pollution, shipping, and over-fishing have all been fingered as culprits. The dolphin's demise marks the first large vertebrate species obliterated by human activity for 50 years and the first ever cetacean (whales, dolphins, and porpoises).

Over six weeks last year, an international team scoured the Yangtze for dolphins using sensitive underwater microphones, hoping to set the baseline for a conservation effort. They drew a complete blank, however, announcing the dolphin was "functionally extinct" at the time. The team have now confirmed the finding and published results of the Chinese government-authorised investigation in the Journal of the Royal Society Biology Letters.

The up-to-eight foot freshwater dolphin, known as the baiji locally, has been on the critical list for several years. A 1999 study suggested there were only 13 individuals remaining. The last confirmed wild sighting was in 2002, the same year as the last baiji in captivity died.

Zoological Society of London conservationist Dr Sam Turvey cautioned that China's rapid industrialisation presents a special threat. He said: "The baiji's extinction 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."

It's estimated that 10 per cent of the world's population live on the banks of the Yangtze. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.