Monday, May 01, 2006

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Thousands of species on edge of oblivion

The New Zealand Herald is one of many sites reporting the news of IUCN's new "Red List" for endangered species.
More than 26,000 species of animals, birds, plants and fish will this week be added to the list of those in serious danger of extinction.

Thousands of species, including the common hippopotamus, are to be added or moved up the so-called "red list" drawn up by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
The report contains further opinion that the Baiji Dolphin is "effectively extinct". Sad.
The new research by the IUCN is the result of two years’ work by scientists all over the world and adds to the picture revealed in the union’s last report in 2004 which said that 15,589 species faced extinction - 7266 animals and 8323 plants and lichens.

While the latest analysis confirms the plight of the polar bear - because climate change threatens its Arctic habitat - more surprising was the threat to the common hippo, sought-after by poachers for the ivory in its teeth.

One of the creatures predicted to die out is the Yangtze River dolphin or Baiji. It is thought that just 30 remain and that the chances of breeding-age pairs meeting is extremely low.

Chris Butler-Stroud of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said the animal was effectively extinct.