Fun Fact: Baiji

Woo hoo, it’s that time again this week for fun fact Friday! A fun fact a week keeps the foolishness away. Today’s topic is about Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer).

This species is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) on IUCN Red List and on Appendix II of CITES. The major threats to this species are exploitation, incidental interactions with fisheries and vessel traffic, and degradation of habitat by water pollution. Recently the scientists have declared that this species is functionally extinct, meaning too few potential breeding pairs remained to ensure the species’ survival, or in other words they are going to be extinct soon.

Photo by Stephen Leatherwood

Photo by Stephen Leatherwood

Before they are extinct, here are 5 SAD (not fun) facts you probably didn’t know about Lipotes vexillifer:

1. Their genus, Lipotes, derives from the Greek for ‘left behind’, referring to its limited range.

2. Baiji dolphins apparently lived and flourished in the Yangtze for more than 19 million years before humans arrived on the scene.

3. It is the first species of cetacean (marine mammals) to become extinct as a result of human activity.

Photo by Stephen Leatherwood

Photo by Stephen Leatherwood

4. A recent November-December 2006 international range-wide survey failed to find any surviving animals in the Yangtze. It was declared extinct in 2006 but was last seen in 2007.

5. Baiji often swim with finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides), the only other cetacean in the Yangtze River.

Isn’t it sad to see another species is going into extinction because of human? Do you have a favorite animal or any other animals that you would like me to write the fun facts about? Let me know by commenting below.

Further readings:

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