May 12, 2012 – CHINA – More than 32 Yangtze finless porpoises have been found dead in the Dongting and Poyang lakes in China in the last two months, leading wildlife experts to worry whether the rare animals are being pushed closer to extinction, the World Wildlife Fund has reported. Yangtze finless porpoises live mainly in the freshwater Yangtze River and the two lakes, where the bodies of more than 32 of them have been found since March 3. “This tragedy shows that Yangtze finless porpoise is facing enormous challenges,” said Lei Gang, head of WWF China’s Central Yangtze program, in a statement. “The porpoise deaths illustrate that without effective measures to fundamentally reverse the trend of ecological deterioration, [the] future of the incredible creature is far from certain.” After examining the dead porpoises, scientists were left with a long list of possible culprits, including electro-fishing, strikes by boat-engine propellers, food shortages and pollution. –Live Science
contribution by Jenny M.