Sanjiangying water area may become conservation zone for Yangtze finless porpoise
2018-04-19 17:49:00

File photo of Yangtze finless porpoise.

The recent media report that the critically endangered Yangtze finless porpoise should be considered a unique incipient species has aroused considerable public attention.

After many years of observation and studies, a team composed of Chinese and U.S. researchers suggested the Yangtze finless porpoise is reproductively isolated from other porpoise populations and harbors unique genetic adaptations so it should be listed as a unique incipient species different from marine porpoises. But the proposal still needs the official recognition of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Yangtze finless porpoise was included in the IUCN Red List of critically endangered species in 2013 and the number of the finless, dolphin-like creatures left in the wild is estimated to be about 1,000.

As the population of Yangtze finless porpoise drops, there have been ongoing calls to upgrade its protection status in China from second degree to first degree. While the application for such upgrade is still in progress, the Ministry of Agriculture has treated the species as a first-degree animal under national protection.

The Yangzhou section of the Yangtze River is an important habitat to the species. Authorities have suggested establishing an on-site conservation zone for the species at the Sanjiangying water area in Yangzhou as the relevant studies for the goal goes on.

On-site conservation means the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat. The method is an important stage in protecting Yangtze finless porpoise, as the other two stages are off-site conservation and captive breeding. The conversation of the species in Yangzhou section of the Yangtze River plays a critically important role in keeping the diversity of genetic pool and biological integrity.

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Source:jschina.com.cn Editor:Amanda
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