Category Archives: Dolphins

“Goddess of the Yangtze” declared extinct

Life has its ups and downs – that’s Life with a Capital L. As new species are discovered, others fade away into the sunset. The Yangtze river dolphin, earlier venerated as Baiji, the Goddess of the Yangtze, has become extinct, a victim of extensive human use of water resources for fishing, transport, and electricity generation. This is the first offically declared extinction of a large vertebrate animal in 50 years  http://www.baiji.org/expeditions/1/overview.html
Ironically, Baiji was discovered to be extinct during a project aiming to revive the species. River dolphins are threatened in other places, too – there were only 2,000 Ganges river dolphins left, at last count. Rivers are fragile ecosystems, being so prone to human overuse.  
Somehow the extinction of a dolphin species seems more tragic, because dolphins are such intelligent creatures, almost human in their curiosity, their playfulness and their need for attention.  http://www.littletownmart.com/dolphins/ 
There are currently six species of dolphins and porpoises on the World Conservation Union’s 2006 Red List, but another 22 species are listed as data deficient. It doesn’t take a stretch to believe that they are endangered too. http://wildlifepreservation.suite101.com/article.cfm/6_endangered_dolphins_and_porpoise
The 2006 Red List put the number of threatened species in the world at 16,119, which, of course, includes all flora and fauna, not just vertebrates. http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/search-basic.
Baiji is not the first species to go extinct because of human resource use, and she won’t be the last.