30 August 2007

Hope for the baiji?

There are reports in the Chinese media of a sighting of the Baiji, the Yangtze River or White Flag Dolphin. The dolphin was declared to be functionally extinct by scientists just three weeks ago .

According to the Xinhua News Agency a “big white animal” was spotted and filmed by a resident of east China's Anhui Province on 19 August. The animal in the footage was confirmed to be a baiji by the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. However, Wang Ding, also from the Institute of Hydrobiology and a leading authority on the species, said that the sighting could not be confirmed 100% because of the distance, but that it looked and acted like a baiji.

Although the sighting provides a small cause for hope that the creature could survive in the wild, the outlook is not good. In the 1950s there were thousands of Yangtze River dolphins, but numbers have declined drastically due to industrial pollution, heavy river traffic and over-fishing. The last previous sighting of a wild baiji was in 2004. There are none in captivity.

The chances are that the baiji is about to join the likes of the Caribbean Monk Seal as a former resident of this planet.

4 comments:

Chris in Oxford said...

This is good news that I hadn't heard. I wrote a post a little while ago about the extinction of the Baiji:
http://www.chrisdellavedova.com/2007/08/09/eo-wilson-encyclopedia-of-life-and-extinction/

Hope that this is true! Thanks for posting it, James!

jams o donnell said...

I hope it's true too Chris but I don't hold out too much hope for the baiji.

Renegade Eye said...

I hope things work out.

jams o donnell said...

So do I Ren, so do I