Fit for porpoise: China races to save last Yangtze river mammal

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On a short stretch of the Yangtze river, three sleek grey porpoises twist in muddy waters near the city of Nanjing, protected from passing barges ...

NANJING, China: On a short stretch of the Yangtze river, three sleek grey porpoises twist in muddy waters near the city of Nanjing, protected from passing barges and ships by a row of yellow buoys.

"We chase them away - this is a core area so we can't let them fish here," said Yang Jinlong, a fisherman-turned-conservationist. It's been done before, activists say. A decades-long conservation effort saved the giant panda, China's national symbol, from the brink of extinction. There are around 1,900 giant pandas today, and their numbers are rising.

The"baiji" or white-finned dolphin, a larger cousin of the porpoise, was declared"functionally extinct" in 2006. The Chinese sturgeon is also on the brink of annihilation, with fish stocks plunging 90per cent in the last few decades.

 

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