Feeds

Yangtze river dolphin is an ex-cetacean

Nature pays the price of progress

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.