Baiji White Dolphin

by Benjamin Kuo

--------------------------Baiji White Dolphin-------------------------

Lipotes vixillifer

Discovery and Extinction

The Baiji Dolphin has been described in Chinese literature since 200 B.C., but was first discovered by the western hemisphere in 1916, when one was shot by a duck hunter.


The dolphin was classified as critically endangered in 1996, but in 2006, an international research group conducted a six-week long survey of the Yangtze river, and failed to receive any sign of the dolphin. The species may be extinct.

Biogeographical data

The Baiji Dolphin is located in the Yangtze river of China.

The first estimate of the population was around 6000, but the population has been declining every year, mainly due to the threat of fishing gear.

Baiji Dolphins are found in eddies located in the river, where they hunt all types of fish.

Little else is known about the ecology or behavior of the dolphin

Causes of Extinction

The baiji dolphin, since 2003, is declining at a rate of about 10% each year.

This is mainly caused by entanglement in rolling hooks and nets, electric fishing, and explosives used to widen the river.

Other causes of the extinction of the dolphin are overfishing, pollution, vessel collision, development of the river, and habitat loss

Ecological Effects

The extinction of the Baiji Dolphin has not affected the environment of the Yangtze River, but it is the first extinction of a cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise) caused by humans. Since the Baiji Dolphin is the only species from the family lipotidae, the entire family has been lost.

Preventative Actions

  • Stricter regulations on fishing methods
  • Earlier preventative actions
  • Enforcement of protection laws

WORKS CITED

  1. Kashyap, Pragati. "10 Extinct Species of Animals That Ruled in Yester Decades: Wild Life That Was." TechieTonics. TechieTonics, 5 May 2014. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  2. Moss, Laura. "10 Animals Presumed Extinct in the Last Decade." MNN. Mother Nature Network, 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  3. National Oceanic Atmospheric Association. "Chinese River Dolphin / Baiji (Lipotes Vexillifer)." :: NOAA Fisheries. National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  4. OneKind. "Extinct." Top Ten Animals | OneKind. OneKind, 2010. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  5. Smith, B. D., K. Zhou, D. Wang, R. R. Reeves, J. Barlow, B. L. Taylor, and R. Pitman. "Lipotes Vexillifer." Lipotes Vexillifer (Changjiang Dolphin, Chinese Lake Dolphin, Whitefin Dolphin, White Flag Dolphin, Yangtze River Dolphin). IUCN, Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.