Thursday, November 28, 2013

Creature Feature #43: Baiji

The Baiji lived in the longest river in China, the heavily industrialised Yangtze River. As pollution and river traffic increased, the numbers of this charming river dolphin plummeted. Nicknamed the “Goddess of the Yangtze”, a popular Chinese tale spoke of a princess who, after refusing an arranged marriage, was drowned by her family and was reincarnated as a dolphin.

From the 1970s and into the 90s, efforts were made to establish a captive population - but few were captured and even fewer survived. The longest living captive baiji was QiQi, who survived 22 years. A mate was found for him, an adult female, but she perished when her pool became flooded. QiQi died in 2002.

The Baiji was declared functionally extinct in 2006.

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