The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) has been declared Critically Endangered by IUCN. Photo by: Xiaoqiang Wang

By Jeremy Hance
7 July 2013

( – The newest update to the IUCN Red List has downgraded the status of the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) from Endangered to Critically Endangered, reflecting the deteriorating state of arguably the world's most degraded river system. The downgrade follows a survey last year that counted only 1,000 animals, a 50 percent decline from 2006.

"The Baiji (a unique freshwater dolphin) only recently went extinct on the Yangtze River," Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation Programs at the Zoological Society of London says. "If we now lose the Yangtze Finless Porpoise, future generations will undoubtedly wonder if we were ignorant, incompetent or both."

The Yangtze River ecosystem has been decimated by overpopulation, pollution, boat traffic, massive dam-building, illegal electro-fishing, and habitat loss among other impacts.

The Yangtze finless porpoise now joins a host of other animals in the river system considered Critically Endangered including the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), the Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus), the Yangtze soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), and the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) which may already be extinct.

Yangtze finless porpoise drops to Critically Endangered



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