Due to extensive fishing, ever-increasing shipping on Yangtze, and the construction of dams and water conservancy projects, the white-flag, or white-fin dolphin is probably extinct.
Wang Ding led the scientists taking part in the search: "We will try every effort to save them as long as it is not announced to be extinct."
Wei Zhuo, an engineer from the hydrobiology institute: "The 3,400 kilometer (2,125 miles) expedition only covered the main section of the Yangtze River and the scientists only searched for the dolphins eight hours a day, which means some dolphins might have been missed."
By 1970s-1080s, an estimated couple of hundreds white flag dolphins were left, while by 1997 only thirteen such dolphins remained.
The extinction of the baiji or white-flag dolphin, if confirmed, will mark the beginning of a series of cetacean extinctions caused only by human activity. This dolphin can't be reared artificially, and lives only in China. The white-fin dolphin weighs three to five hundred pounds with up to 2.5 meters long.
White-flags lived in groups of up to 4 dolphins, but could at times go as high as 10-15.
The majority did not die from natural causes, but rather by getting trapped or electrocuted by illegal fishing devices, hitting the numerous vessels that invaded their territories, or because of blasts for channel maintenance. Their birth rate is also worrying, as the birth-to-birth interval is 2 years, with just one newborn per birth.
The extinction of the baiji would hurt China's fauna, as it was unique to the country, along with the giant panda, golden-haired monkey, South China tiger, brown-eared pheasant, Chinese alligator and red-crowned crane.
» Panda Extinction Prevented
» The Three Gorges Dam Protective Wall Blast, The Aftermath
» New Monkey Genus after 83 years: kipunji (Tanzania)
» Richard Gere Interviews Sex Offenders For His Latest Role
» Red Wine to Minimize the Risk of Colon Cancer?
» Naomi Campbell Had A Secret Romance With Robbie Williams
» Google.cn Licensed for China Operations
» "The West Wing" Series Cancelled By NBC After 7 Seasons