There is ever increasing world coverage this week of the failure of the Baiji Dolphin expedition to find any of the animals in the Yangtze River. In a Reuters interview this week, August Pfluger, chief executive of the baiji.org Foundation, said that the Baiji Dolphin is "functionally extinct". The interview is being picked up by the other news organisations very quickly.
"If there are maybe one or two or three left in the river, we don't believe that they have any chance to survive. We were obviously too late. For me, it's a tragedy in terms of conservation. We lost the race."Full story at Reuters AlertNet and across the web - Washington Post - CBS News - BBC News - BBC Video - The Guardian - LA Times - Slashdot discussion - Daily Kos discussion
Chinese view the baiji as the reincarnation of a princess who refused to marry a man she did not love and was drowned by her father for shaming the family.
"The baiji was considered a goddess of the Yangtze River. This goddess obviously is not here anymore," said Pfluger. "I think in the last few years the government has put more attention on the issue, but we have all been too late."
The thoughts of August Pfluger are the latest post on the Baiji.org Last Chance To Save blog.
The baiji is Functionally extinct. Lipotes vexilifier is the first species of cetacean – whales, dolphins and porpoises – to disappear from our globe in modern times…the first large mammal to go extinct as a result of man’s destruction of their natural habitat and ressources.NOTE: The definition of "functionally extinct" as described on the Wikipedia "Extinction" page...
The disappearance of the Baiji from our planet is a tragedy for animal lovers around the world –and a tragic milestone for international animal conservation.
A species may become functionally extinct when only a handful of individuals survive, which are unable to reproduce due to poor health, age, sparse distribution over a large range, a lack of individuals of both sexes (in sexually reproducing species), or other reasons.