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Large charismatic marine megafauna thought to be extinct, who’s next?

Say goodbye to the poor Baiji Dolphin

Last sited in 1997, the poor Baiji Dolphin is expected to be extinct. The Bajii is (or was) a nearly blind finless freshwater white dolphin which apparently has scumbed to Chinas relentless economic growth.

On Dec 6 the Wall Street Journal (paper edition) reported the results of a 26 day last ditch conservation expedition: no sightings, “it may be too late to save the Yangtze goddess.” Perhaps we will officially declare the Baiji extinct next year (ironically 2007 is the international year of the Dolphin).

Who’s next? In writing about the Bajii, the Wall Street Journal article also laments the fate of the Caribbean Monk Seal, extinct in the 1950’s. How about the Hawaiian Monk Seal? Plummeting populations, unfocused management, a dire situation almost on the brink?

Obviously we, as our planet’s caretakers, have to do much better than what we served the poor Baiji or Caribbean Monk Seal.

See also:

The Foundation

International Year of the Dolphin

Caribbean Monk Seal

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Posted by steven Lutz