Yangtze River’s Finless Porpoise Population To Dwindle To 200
June 3, 2011
The population of finless porpoises in China’s Yangtze River may decrease by over 80 percent to 200 porpoises, according to new research estimates.
AsianScientist (Jun. 3, 2011) – The population of finless porpoises, an endangered species of freshwater dolphin that lives in China’s Yangtze River, may decrease by over 80 percent over the next 30 years to 200 porpoises, said experts yesterday after conducting a field survey along the river.
Also known locally as the river pig (江豚), the porpoise population is on the verge of extinction if no action is taken, said Wang Ding, a dolphin expert from the Hydrobiology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The dolphin population currently stands at 1,000, even lower than that of the giant panda, and is decreasing by a rate of 6.4 percent annually.
“The next ten years will be a critical period for the conservation of this species,” Wang said.
Wang’s team conducted a survey on Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, and other locations along the Yangtze from Sunday to Wednesday this week.
Human activities such as industrial waste water discharge, fishing, transportation, and dam construction are threatening the ecosystem of Yangtze River – the mammal’s natural habitat.
Mei Zhigang, a member of Wang’s survey team, said that the large numbers of shipping vessels on the Yangtze have impeded the dolphins’ migration path, causing them to reproduce less frequently.
A long-lasting drought in central China has also led to lowered water levels in many of the region’s lakes and rivers, doing great harm to the dolphins’ habitat and leading to a decrease in population, Wang added.
Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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