Claims have been put forward that the functionally extinct China’s freshwater dolphin ‘Baiji’ may have been spotted again.
The dophin was declared as functionally extinct a decade ago as efforts of conservationists to find the dolphin turned out to be futile. However, reports are not floating in that conservationists may have caught a glimpse of the freshwater dolphin thereby igniting a small hope that all may not be lost as far as these dolphins are concerned.
The mammal, also known as Baiji or the white dolphin, was actively searched for in 2006 for six weeks by scientists, conservationists and environmentalists, but there were not successful in spotting the dolphin. Now a team of amateur conservationists have claimed that they have spotted the so-called “goddess of the Yangtze” last week on a stretch of Asia’s longest river near the city of Wuhu in Anhui province.
Song Qi, who led the expedition, claims that the possibility that a creature can jump out of the Yangtze like that is almost negligible and to all the eye witnesses including the team of conservationists, local fishermen and others, it was most certainly baiji. Qi further revealed to the media that they sighted the dolphin during a seven-day search mission down the Yangtze that began in the city of Anqing on September 30.
Local media reports also mentioned that in the 1950s, the Yangtze is thought to have been home to thousands of such animals. But by the end of the 1980s that number had fallen to perhaps 200 thanks to a lethal cocktail of dam-building, over-fishing, pollution and boat traffic. By the turn of the century just 13 remained, according to one survey.