Earlier today, the World Wildlife Fund has gone public with the news that, for the time being, only 1,000 Yangtze finless porpoises are left to inhabit their natural habitats in China. Because of this, conservationists fear that the species will go extinct in roughly 12 years' time.
Despite their not getting anywhere near the amounts of attention that panda bears do, it appears that these aquatic mammals are actually doing worse than said iconic species.
Seeing how roughly six years ago the species’ entire population was known to comprise well over 2,000 individuals, wildlife researchers maintain that their population is declining at a yearly rate of 13.7%.
The World Wildlife Fund explains that this dramatic drop in the Yangze finless porpoise population has to be attributed to humans' habit of toying with their natural habitat.
More precisely, it is being said that the animals cannot breed as efficiently as in the past and also experience higher mortality rates because of an increase in local shipping traffic.
Furthermore, conservationists argue that overfishing and pollution have greatly impacted on these animals' food sources.
“Lack of fishery resources and human disturbances including shipping traffic are among the key threats to the Yangtze finless porpoise survival,” argues Lei Gang, the current director of freshwater program at WWF-China.
These assumptions are based on the researchers' coming to understand that most of the remaining Yangtze finless porpoises prefer to live in waters that are not yet open to navigation.
The World Wildlife Fund warns that, unless measures are taken without any delay, these animals are bound to fall off the biodiversity map as early as the year 2025.
“The species is moving fast toward its extinction,” stressed conservationist Wang Ding.
The organization asks that fishing activities in all existing river dolphin reserves be from now on banned, and that new reserves be created.
“Given that, the report calls for all-year-round fishing ban for all river dolphin reserves, establishment of a national reserve in Poyang Lake and ex-situ conservation reserves along the Yangtze,” the greenheads write on their website.