The Straits Times
Published on Nov 11, 2012

China surveys Yangtze dolphin as extinction looms


SHANGHAI (AFP) - Chinese scientists on Sunday began a survey of the dwindling population of an endangered porpoise in the country's longest river, as the animal edges towards extinction from man-made threats.

Researchers will spend more than a month tracking the finless porpoise - known as the "river pig" in Chinese - in the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway at more than 6,000 km, organisers said.

It marks the most comprehensive survey of the species, found only in China, since 2006, when a similar expedition found only 1,800. The current number could be far lower, they said.

"Our expectation is maybe only 1,000 of them are left, but we have to see how it turns out from the survey," said research professor Wang Ding at the Institute of Hydrobiology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.