China - Don't Let the Freshwater Porpoise Disappear

  • by: Judith B.
  • recipient: Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China

China has already lost one cetacean, the Yangtze River dolphin or baiji, which is almost certainly extinct. Now another one in the same river is in grave danger. The Yangtze River has the only freshwater porpoises in the world and there are only about a thousand left.

Threats to the finless porpoise come from boat traffic, with boat collisions causing fatal injuries, illegal fishing methods, a changing climate and pollution. The porpoises cannot cope, and numbers are declining rapidly. Post mortems on dead porpoises showed that some had apparently died of starvation.

Most of these threats are preventable. However, if nothing is done, scientists estimate the porpoise will be extinct within 15 years.

China must take action now to prevent yet another charismatic animal disappearing from the world.

We the undersigned ask that the Chinese government take action to save the Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis) from the pollution, hazardous and illegal fishing methods and boat traffic that are endangering the species. With only about 1,000 individuals left, this species is in critical danger.

Mitigating the major threats is entirely possible. Reducing water pollution would also safeguard the livelihood of local fishermen.

Thank you for your attention.

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