Rare river porpoises showing up dead   2012-04-18 09:56:34

By Wang Qian

BEIJING, Apr. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Within the last month and a half, the corpses of 12 endangered finless porpoises, including a pregnant one, have been found around Dongting Lake, Hunan province.

It has triggered worries from experts about the rare species possibly becoming extinct.

Fishery administration workers record the size of a freshwater finless porpoise, an endangered species unique to China, in Yueyang, Hunan province, last week. The remains of 12 porpoises, known as "river pigs", were found along the Yangtze River over a period of less than two months. Scientists blamed pollution for the deaths. (Source: China Daily\Xu

Scientists said finless porpoises, which have lived in the Yangtze River and adjacent lakes for more than 20 million years, will become extinct within 15 years. The porpoises are also called "river pigs".

"Apparently the prolonged drought and low water level due to climate change and increasing offshore human activities are reducing the living space for finless porpoises, accelerating its extinction," Wang Kexiong, an expert of the Institute of Hydrobiology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Daily.

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