The Baiji, Lipotes vexillifer, was a species found only in Yangtze River, In China. The freshwater dolphin was also known as ‘Chinese River Dolphin’, ‘Whitefin Dolphin’ and ‘Yangtze Dolphin’. The Baiji dolphin was the casualty of the fast growing and industrializing China, as its population drastically declined in recent decades. This was mainly due to the activity of China’s fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity within the Yangtze River. The species were announced extinct in 2006, after efforts to find any Baiji in the river failed. It is said to be the only aquatic mammal species to have become extinct solely due to human activity. Causes of decline in population
There were several human activities contributing to the demise of the Baiji, most notable stemming from the industrialization of China. The Baiji was hunted for its skin and flesh during the 50s and 60s, quickly becoming scarce. The increase of fishing in the river also led to accidental entanglement and ultimately death of many Baiji. ‘Electric fishing’ was a fast growing trend of catching fish at the start of the 21st century for the Chinese in the Yangtze River. If performed correctly, this resulted in the temporarily stunning aquatic life. Unfortunately, correct safety measures were not taken and many Baiji were killed as a result. Habitat loss was another major factor leading to the detriment of the freshwater mammal. The building of the ‘Three Gorges Damn’ in 2006 only heaped more casualties to the population number of the Baiji. Pressure on the river dolphin grew as China became more developed in terms of its Industry, leading to residential waste flowed into the Yangtze. Additionally, noise pollution caused the poor sighted animal to collide with propellers. In 1997, a dead Baiji was found with 103 separate open wounds. This finding seemed to embody the detriment of the industrialized China on the local wildlife. In 1998, a survey found just 7 Baiji. The use of the Three Gorges Damn...
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