China acts to save the Yangtze finless porpoise, acts to save everyone.
In 2006, a mystical animal known as the Yangtze River dolphin slipped quietly away into extinction. Ancient legends tell of the dolphin as the reincarnation of a princess, but this divine mythology was no use as industrialization flexed it’s polluted muscles, destroying the river’s resources. Extreme pollution, overfishing and other factors ruined the river’s ability to support life while meeting the needs of millions of humans depending on it.
Just a decade later, the other cetacean who calls the Yangtze home is in danger due to similar causes for its cousin’s demise: unsustainable fishing practices, depleted fish stocks, sand dredging, mining and increasing pollution. The Yangtze finless porpoise is known for its rascally ‘smile’ and it is estimated that only about 1,000 of them remain. If China were not to change how it manages freshwater resources, this adorable species could easily vanish within the next five to ten years.
Instead of just doing what’s right and saving the voiceless from extinction, the effort to save the finless porpoise is doing China service itself to protect its future. The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia, providing for one-third of those who live within its basin and providing thirty percent of China’s GDP. Its health is important for water, food, energy and economic growth. Essentially, what is hurting the porpoise’s chances of survival is also hurting the Yangtze’s ability to continue providing for everyone.
On March 27, 2015, a group from WWF-China with the support of local Chinese fishermen, scientists from China’s Institute of Hydrobiology and China’s Ministry of Agriculture, helped relocate eight Yangtze finless porpoises into a less dangerous environment. Four went to a nature reserve that plans on hosting up to a hundred of the endangered porpoises in the near future. The other four went to a reserve with a small population of porpoises to help boost the genetic diversity. WWF and their partners are attempting to create new pods of the species to save them from extinction.
Thousands of other freshwater species, humans along with every other being on Earth cannot live without water. Hopefully, this is a new trend that will take grip over our world, where we act to replenish clean freshwater in our rivers and lakes. We care enough to save ourselves by caring enough to save the finless porpoise.