Yangtze finless porpoise species:
Affected by: Climate change , Habitat loss and fragmentation , Food & farming
The Yangtze river’s finless porpoise is one of the very few porpoises (relatives of dolphins and whales) that live in fresh water. Its small size and cute 'smile' make it much loved in China and beyond. But we need to prevent it going the same way as the functionally extinct Yangtze river dolphin, also known as the Baiji.
There are now as few as 1,000 finless porpoises left in the Yangtze, spread around in small groups. The porpoises are at risk from the same threats that the Baiji faced – including loss of food sources and boat collisions – and without urgent action their numbers in the main river could well drop to below 250 in the next 5 years.
Where the Yangtze finless porpoise lives
The Yangtze finless porpoise is found in the main Yangtze river channel in central and eastern China, and in two oxbow lakes, naturally connected to the river, in the central Yangtze - Dongting and Poyang.
Why the Yangtze finless porpoise is so important
Porpoises play an important role in keeping their environment healthy. They eat fish and other river creatures, which would otherwise increase in number and unbalance the local food chain.
Equally, porpoises are a good indicator of the health of their environment – if the river is overfished or polluted, the porpoises struggle to survive.
By protecting these porpoises we’re helping preserve healthy rivers and lakes – which a lot of people heavily rely on for food, provision of clean water and as source of livelihoods.