Is the Yangtze River dolphin extinct?Mother Nature gave life to the Yangtze River dolphin about 20 million years ago. Is it possible that something that survived all sorts of natural disasters, that you can only read about in science books written by famous archeologists and other scientists that have been studying the Earth's history under all possible angles, face extinction? Why don't you be the judge?
In the name of "Progress", humans have changed the natural habitat of the Yangtze River dolphin for the worse. Pollution, boat traffic, hydroelectric dams, fishing nets and fishing practices all contributed to the actual situation. The presence of the Yangtze River dolphin a.k.a. the Chinese River dolphin has not been noticed, observed or seen since 2002, making surveys impossible to fill due to a lack of data.
Years ago, a population of about 200 up to 300 individuals has been estimated to swim in the waters of the Yangtze River, which is located in China. At that time, the conservation status of these mammals put them on the critically endangered species list. Like other river dolphins, humans have made it gradually more difficult for them to grow and become mature and healthy individuals.
Pollution has been responsible for high level of carbon dioxide and other toxic chemicals, which contributed to developing diseases and parasites, affecting seriously the quality of life and the health of the Yangtze River dolphin.
Hydroelectric dams and boat traffic have added noise and have added hazardous conditions to their natural habitat. In these conditions, these river dolphins are often injured by them and can lead them to die from their injuries.
Fishing nets are also a hazard in themselves as during their fishing expeditions, dolphins get trapped in the nets while following the fish that is also the bread and butter of Chinese fishermen. Once trapped, they get injured and eventually drown, unable to go take that breath of fresh air at the surface.
Despite the fact that this dolphin specie has been protected by laws since 1975, it did not stop angry fishermen to kill these mammals as they hold them responsible for a smaller amount of fish and ripped nets. In fact, Chinese fishermen have been known to hunt, trap then slaughter pods of dolphins in order to fill their nets with fish.
Is the Yangtze River dolphin extinct? Did mankind destroy Mother Nature's creation? Is it fair to say that because some people chose to ignore laws that were supposed to protect these river dolphins due to anger and frustration, this dolphin specie has been erased from the Yangtze River, never to return?
The fact is that despite the principal that mankind should protect the gift of life that it has received from Mother Nature, humans may have failed is horrible. If some individuals should surface in the future, proving that despite all concerns, they have managed to survive all odds, let's take responsibility as humans as we are the ones that failed them. If on the other had, the Yangtze River dolphin should officially be declared extinct, let's avoid repeating the same mistakes with other endangered species. Let's take action!