Thu, Sep 12, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Fit for porpoise

China races to save last Yangtze river mammal

Reuters, NANJING, China

However, the action plan was limited in scope, aiming only to “stabilize” porpoise populations, improve monitoring, raise public awareness and deepen genetic and stem cell research.

Nanjing is considered a model protection zone, and it has spent around 30 million yuan since it opened in 2014 on surveillance equipment and a full-time staff of 20.

Elsewhere, authorities last month imposed a 10-year fishing ban from 2021 at Poyang, China’s largest freshwater lake and another home to finless porpoises. The ban will affect 100,000 fishermen, Xinhua news agency reported.

And a 64km stretch of the Yangtze at Anqing, in Anhui Province, has been declared a porpoise safe haven and off limits for fishing.

“We are optimistic because the state has made protection a priority,” said Chen Shouwen, a conservation official at Anqing’s rural affairs bureau.

Activists hope publicity will help save the porpoise, but some campaigns can misfire. Conservationists were enraged last year when authorities captured 14 wild porpoises and put them on display in marine parks in Shanghai and along the east coast.

Researchers have had some success in breeding porpoises artificially, but the numbers are small. China may be forced to preserve the species by storing reproductive cells and repopulating the river when conditions improve.

“I don’t think it will ever return to the way it was, but there might be some mitigation efforts where they can thrive quite normally in the Yangtze,” Robeck said. “I’m really hopeful their efforts will be an example for what can be done in the future.”

This story has been viewed 5699 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top