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S.O.S. For Yangtze River Dolphin: Ancient Species Faces Extinction In China

Twelve sudden deaths have sounded the alarm in the past few weeks for the rare -- and 25 million-year-old -- freshwater species of porpoise that inhabits the Yangtze River. Referred to as the "Panda of the Water," the beloved mammal risk

Spotting a Yangtze finless porpoise (LightsiderVlogs)
Spotting a Yangtze finless porpoise (LightsiderVlogs)
By Chen Anqing and Lu Feng

The Yangtze finless porpoise, commonly known as the "River dolphin" or "River pig" by local people on account of its less-than-stunning looks, is a unique freshwater porpoise subspecies that has lived in the Yangtze River and nearby lakes for more than 25 million years. Now this much-adored mammal that has a smiley face and an intelligence level comparable with a gorilla risks soon going extinct.

Since early March, some 12 river dolphins, regarded as the giant panda of the water and classified as a second-level protected animal in China have been found dead, one after another around the Dongting Lake Basin area in Hunan Province, China.

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