Saturday, February 17, 2007

Baiji Dolphins: Vanishing Point

A good article at China's Standard newspaper website last week. Three wildlife experts tell Steven Ribet of their experiences on the trail of two of China's most endangered animals, the Baiji Dolphin and finless porpoise. It includes a graphic description of the capture of QiQi, the only Baiji in captivity who died in 2002.
"The last confirmed sighting of a baiji in the wild was in May 2002. But we know there was at least one left alive after that because he died with us in captivity at our dolphinarium here in Wuhan," says Professor Wang.

"His name was Qiqi and we found him in 1980 when he was only two years old, 200 kilometers up the Yangtze from here in Chenglingji. He was stranded on the bank of the river. A fisherman had mistaken him for a fish and tried to catch him with a big hook, so there were two gaping holes in his neck. He was very close to death. None of us thought he was going to make it.

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