Nature & Environment
'Extinct' river dolphin shows up in China
By T.K. Randall
October 12, 2016 · 23 comments
The sightings have yet to be confirmed but seem quite promising. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Ekem
Chinese conservationists believe that they have spotted an extinct dolphin species in the Yangtze river.
Sometimes referred to as the "goddess of the Yangtze", the Chinese river dolphin, or baiji, was declared functionally extinct in 2006 after an extensive six-week search failed to find any sign of it.
Now however it appears as though reports of their demise may have been a little premature - that is at least according to a group of conservationists who reported seeing several of the animals leaping out of the Yangtze river during an amateur expedition last week.
"I saw most of the body, and the second time around I saw its mouth and head," said expedition leader Song Qi. "The front boat saw it three times."
"No other creature could jump out of the Yangtze like that. All the eyewitnesses - which include fishermen - felt certain that it was a baiji dolphin."
Sadly though the team did not manage to take any photographs or record any other evidence.
"Extreme claims for the possible survival of probably extinct species require robust proof," said biologist Samuel Turvey who has authored a book detailing the extinction of the dolphins.
"While I would deeply love there to be strong evidence that the baiji is not extinct, this isn't it."
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Yangtze, Dolphin, China
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