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Dolphin Species: Chinese River Dolphin
Lipotes Vexillifer

This species was found along 1,700km from the Three Gorges to the mouth of the Yangtze River, China.

The only other cetacean inhabiting the same area as the Baiji is the Finless Porpoise. It is easy to differenciate between the two - the Finless Porpoise has no dorsal, beak or hump, and is less shy than its cousin.

The Baiji has a very long, narrow beak, with abrupt forehead and tiny eyes set high on the sides of the head. The triangular dorsal fin has a blunt peak. They are blue-grey in colour, fading to white below. Maximum length and weight are around 2.5m and 160kg respectively.

All of the Yangtze River, among sandbars and dikes. The river is wide, open and slow moving.

Food & Feeding
Baiji feed upon a variety of fish.

Small groups of 3-7 are most common, with occasional groups of 10 being observed. Baiji are wary of boats and difficult to approach.


Estimated Current Population
The number of Baiji dolphins fell drastically from 6,000 in the 1950s to 400 in 1984. Now only an estimated 5 animals remain. The world's most endangered cetacean. Update 2008: Believed to now be extinct.

The Influence of Man
Baiji have to compete with humans for food within all their habitat. Fishing gear alone causes over half of dolphin deaths, with many others being caused by run-ins with boat propellers. Draining of the river as part of a land reclaim project also adds to the mortalities. A lone male, Qi Qi, is held in captivity, but his wild cousins' future looks bleak.

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