Last chance for China’s dolphin

Zoologists have developed a plan to save the Yangtze River dolphin, probably the world’s most endangered mammal, from extinction

They hope to take some dolphins from the Yangtze and rear them in a nearby lake, protected from fishermen. The species is threatened by overfishing which removes its food, industrialisation, boat collisions, and through being caught in fishing nets.

The most recent surveys found only 17 living individuals.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Last chance for China’s dolphin

This is the dolphin featured in Douglas Adams’s Last Chance to See, which is without doubt his best book. Alas I never caught the radio series, though the site Another Chance to See, has pointed me to an MP3 of the Rodrigues Fruitbat Episode. You can also hear him talk about the Komodo Dragon at the BBC.

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One Response to Last chance for China’s dolphin

  1. ajcann says:

    17 individuals? The genetic bottleneck this introduces suggests that the species is doomed. So what to do? Give up, sample their DNA to preserve the genepool in vitro, or outcross them with the most closely related species to preserve their gene pool in vivo?

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