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Chinese River Yangtze loses its dolphin. Climate change may take its toll on other species as well

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Chinese River Yangtze loses its dolphin. Climate change may take its toll on other species as well-GadgetAny

They referred to it as the “Goddess of the Yangtze” because it was a very uncommon creature that local fishermen and anyone else who was fortunate enough to see it was said to be granted protection and good fortune.

However, overfishing and human activity brought it very close to going extinct, and it hasn’t been observed for many years.

“The baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin, was this unique and beautiful creature — there was nothing quite like it,” said Samuel Turvey, a British zoologist and conservationist who spent more than two decades in China trying to track the animal down.

Yangtze River
Parts of the Yangtze River have dried up from the extreme heat.
“It was around for tens of millions of years and was in its own mammal family. There are other river dolphins in the world, but this one was very different, so unrelated to anything else,” Turvey said. “Its demise was more than just another species tragedy — it was a huge loss of river diversity in terms of how unique it was and left huge holes in the ecosystem.”
The Yangtze, the third-longest river in the world, is drying up as China battles its worst heat wave on record.

Its water levels have dropped to record lows of 50% of their normal levels for this time of year due to below-average rainfall since July, exposing fractured river banks and even exposing submerged islands.

A Chinese giant salamander pictured at a local breeding facility.
“The Yangtze is one of the world’s most ecologically critical rivers for biodiversity and freshwater ecosystems — and we are still discovering new species yearly,” said conservation ecologist Hua Fangyuan, an assistant professor from Peking University.
“Many of the little (known) and unknown fish and other aquatic species are most likely facing extinction risks silently, and we simply do not know enough.”

Hundreds of species at risk

Over the years, conservationists and scientists have identified and documented hundreds of wild animal and plant species native to the Yangtze.

At high risk is the Chinese giant salamander, one of the largest amphibians in the world. Wild populations have crashed, Turvey, the zoologist said, and the species is “now on the verge of extinction.”
“Although they are a protected species, Chinese giant salamanders are under greater threat from climate change — increasing global temperatures and droughts will definitely do it no good when it is already extremely vulnerable,” Turvey said.
Awanish Kumar

By Awanish Kumar

I keep abreast of the latest technological developments to bring you unfiltered information about gadgets.

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