QiQi, a rare baiji dolphin who was rescued from China's Yangtze River in 1980 after being beached and injured, died of old age in 2002. The baiji is now effectively extinct.
International expedition says hunting and pollution are responsible for baiji's absence in Chinese habitat.
The rare, nearly blind white dolphin that survived for millions of years is effectively extinct, an international expedition declared after ending a fruiyless six-week search of its Yangtze River habitat.
The baiji would be the first large aquatic mammal driven to extinction since hunting and overfishing killed off the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950's.
The baiji dates back to 20 million years. Chinese called it the "goddedd of the Yangtze." For China its disappearance symbolizes how unbridled economic growth is changing the country's environment irreparably.
The expedition was the most professional ever launched for the mammal. The team of 30 scientists and a crew from China, the United States and four other countries searched for a 1000 mile heavily traffiked stretch of the Yangtze, where the baiji once thrived.
At least 20 to 25 baiji would now be needed to give the species a chance to survive.
This information was obtained from The Globe and Mail,
Thursday, December 14, 2006