"Long before it's in the papers"
January 28, 2015


Reports of dolphin’s demise premature

Aug. 31, 2007
Courtesy WWF
and World Science staff

Re­cently re­ported ex­tinct, a Yang­tze Riv­er dol­phin has been sight­ed, Chin­ese me­dia has re­ported. That means there’s still a chance for peo­ple to take ac­tion to pro­tect dol­phins in the riv­er from ex­tinction, the Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based World Wild­life Fund an­nounced.

Chin­ese me­dia re­ported that a busi­ness­man in Tong­ling City in east Chi­na’s An­hui Prov­ince filmed “a big white an­i­mal” with his dig­it­al cam­era on Aug. 19. A lead­ing sci­ent­ist at the In­sti­tute of Hy­dro­bi­ol­o­gy of the Chin­ese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences lat­er con­firmed that the foot­age showed the mam­mal, al­so known as the Bai­ji dol­phin, ac­cord­ing to the World Wild­life Fund.

It’s the first Baiji re­ported in the Yang­tze since a sci­en­tif­ic ex­pe­di­tion last year, dur­ing which no Bai­ji was spot­ted. At the time, the fund and many sci­ent­ists agreed the spe­cies was “func­tionally ex­tinct.”

“This sighting presents a last hope that the Baiji may not go the way of the do­do bird,” said Ka­ren Ba­ra­gona, Yang­tze River Ba­sin Pro­gram leader at the fund. “Other spe­cies have been brought back from the brink of ex­tinct­ion like the south­ern right whale and white rhi­nos, but only through the most in­ten­sive con­ser­va­tion ef­forts.”

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Recently reported extinct, a Yangtze River dolphin has been sighted, Chinese media has reported. That means there’s still a chance for people to take further action and protect cetaceans in the river from extinction, the Washington, D.C.-based World Wildlife Fund announced. Chinese media reported that a local businessman in Tongling City in east China’s Anhui Province filmed “a big white animal” with his digital camera on August 19. A leading scientist at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences later confirmed the footage to show the mammal, also known as the Baiji dolphin, according to the World Wildlife Fund. It is the first Baiji reportedly found in the Yangtze since a scientific expedition last year, during which no single Baiji was spotted. At the time, the fund and many scientists agreed that this species was “functionally extinct.”