…It now seems possible that the finless porpoise, known in Chinese as the “river pig”, may go the same way as the baiji (the Yangtze River dolphin). In December 2006, a survey of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River found no trace of the baiji, and the number of finless porpoises living in the Yangtze River is now also plummeting. Meanwhile, the Yangtze River basin’s ecosystem is suffering from the effects of shipping, sand dredging and over-fishing.
Urgent action is needed to save the finless porpoise, underlines Wang Ding, deputy director of the Institute of Hydrobiology. “There are between 700 and 900 finless porpoises in the Yangtze River itself, with about another 500 in Poyang and Dongting Lakes,” said Wang. “An optimistic estimate would put numbers at no more than 1,400 – less than half of the 1997 population. But although the porpoise population is currently dropping at a rate of 7.3% per year, it still has a hope of survival – if enough action is taken.”…[Full Text]