Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rare White Dolphin Declared As Extinct

Rare White Dolphin Declared As Extinct
(AP) BEIJING A rare, nearly blind white dolphin that survived for millions
of years is effectively extinct, an international expedition declared
Wednesday after ending a fruitless six-week search of its Yangtze River

The baiji would be the first large aquatic mammal driven to extinction since
hunting and overfishing killed off the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s.

For the baiji, the culprit was a degraded habitat - busy ship traffic, which
confounds the sonar the dolphin uses to find food, and overfishing and
pollution in the Yangtze waters of eastern China, the expedition said.

"The baiji is functionally extinct. We might have missed one or two animals
but it won't survive in the wild," said August Pfluger, a Swiss economist
turned naturalist who helped put together the expedition. "We are all
incredibly sad."

The baiji dates back 20 million years. Chinese called it the "goddess of the
Yangtze." For China, its disappearance symbolizes how unbridled economic
growth is changing the country's environment irreparably, some
environmentalists say.

Full story at

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