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by February 2, 2014
BAIJI, aka YANGTZE RIVER DOLPHIN (Lipotes vexillifer)
The Chinese river dolphin is a freshwater dolphin and one of the most endangered animals on Earth. It is also known as the Yangtze river dolphin, baiji, white-flag dolphin, and white-fin dolphin. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze," it was regarded as the goddess of protection by local fishermen and boatmen in China (Zhou, 1991).
The Baiji is a toothed whale with an elongated beak, a sleek body and an average weight of about 300 pounds. Their eyes are not well formed so they rely on echolocation to navigate and search for food in the muddy river bottom. There are many threats to this species, including collisions with boats and loss of prey species by overfishing, pollution and dams. Engine noise also interferes with echolocation.
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