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Chinese Freshwater Dolphin (Baiji) extinct!

December 14th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Baiji
Man has driven yet another large mammal to extinction. Extinction is such a sad thing – the generations to follow will never know what they lost to the fullest.

The Baiji, or Chinese freshwater river dolphins are almost blind and were driven to extinction by ships which interfere with their sonar, pollution, fishing and such. The baiji.org website reports:

The Baiji Yangtze Dolphin is with all probability extinct. On Wednesday, in the city of Wuhan in central China, a search expedition, under the direction of the Institute for Hydrobiology Wuhan and the Swiss-based baiji.org Foundation, drew to a finish without any results. During the six-week expedition scientists from six nations desperately searched the Yangtze in vain.

In the past, the baiji had been protected by custom, since the Chinese considered it to be an incarnation of a drowned princess (Burton & Pearson 1987). It also has a nickname in China – “Giant Panda of the Yangtze River” – that may reflect the general affection for this aquatic mammal,. I guess with modernization, people lose touch with fairy tales, themselves and the world around them.