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"Baiji" the dolphin and once regarded as "the Goddess of the Yangtze" is added in the new episodes of "the story of extinction of animals", and many more are getting written day by day. More new names are getting added to the list. Moreover, one day many of the names of the animals will remain only in storybooks. There will be a long list, which the coming generations will read and see them in books only. The "Institute for Hydrobiology Wuhan" and the Swiss-based Baiji organization Foundation have functionally declared these beautiful river dolphins as extinct. Scientists from six different nations failed to find even a single Baiji dolphin in the Yangtze River during their expedition of six-week. Moreover, the loss is not only for China but also for the entire world that lost such a beautiful fish from this planet.
Baiji dolphin's facts The Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) is a river dolphin found in the rivers of China. It is a member of the Cetacean family, which comprises of all dolphins, sea whales, and porpoises. As the record of fossil suggests, dolphin appeared 25 million years ago. They migrated to the Yangtze River from the Pacific Ocean, around 20 million years ago. It likes to live in fresh water. It is grey and can grow up to a height of 8 feet. The Baiji dolphin has flexible neck, tiny eyes and a long narrow snout for probing the riverbeds for hidden deep sea fish. It is of colors like blue and light gray and there is white-collar drawn around eyes. They are of medium-sized. The male weigh around 500 pounds and the female weigh around 350 pounds. Moreover, they have 31 to 36 cone-shaped teeth on each jaw. It is thought that they breed in the first half of the year, from February to April. Males reached sexual maturity at the age of four and females at the age of six.
Causes of extinction There are many reasons as to why theses peculiar sea animals got extinct. The reasons for their extinction as suggested by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) are the following :
- They became victim of propeller strikes of the boats and ships.
- Pollution in the river.
- Hunting by the human being for its flesh and skin.
- The illegal practice of electric fishing.
- Habitat loss.
The baiji dolphins have been functionally declared extinct last year. Moreover, if few might be remaining, then there is very less chance that they may get their partner for mating. It means that they are on the drive of extinction.
Conclusion According to the IUCN's report out of four, the three species of fresh water dolphins are in the Red List of Threatened Species. In order to save these species Baiji Organization launched a series of project with the help of Ocean Park Foundation Hong Kong. China and the whole world is going to lose the entire dolphin family. The whole humankind will have to understand this critical situation and take the full responsibility in the role as guardians of this planet.