Thursday, June 09, 2005

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Conservationists name key areas for saving dolphins

News in the New Scientist amongst others about a new WWF report on the species and number of marine mammals being caught by fishermen's nets. The article makes bleak reading for the Yangtze baiji (Lipotes vexillifer). The WWF did not include it on the list because they "don’t see a way forward for this species. There is no answer on the horizon".
Hundreds of thousands of dolphins and porpoises are accidentally caught in fishing nets each year, posing an increasing threat to already endangered populations, warns a new report. Commissioned by the WWF, the report ranks the nine most endangered populations that might be pulled back from the brink of extinction.

"We tried to pick places where there is an infrastructure in place to manage fisheries and, to some extent, there is an interest in conserving marine mammals. If only a handful work out, it will be a great success," says Randall Reeves, chairman of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) cetacean specialist group and leader of the study.
[...]
Also on the list are harbor porpoises in the Black Sea, Spinner and Fraser dolphins in the Philippines, the Atlantic humpback dolphin around Togo and Ghana, Burmeister's porpoise off Peru, Franciscana dolphin off Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, and Commerson's dolphin off Argentina.

But the Baiji or Chinese river dolphin in the Yangtze, which is considered the most endangered cetacean in the world, did not make the list. "We haven’t included it because we don’t see a way forward for this species. There is no answer on the horizon," says Randall.