Yangtze finless porpoise

  • IASbaba
  • January 20, 2023
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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In News: New research done in the Dongting lake in China that joins the Yangtze river found the cetaceans were pushed out of certain stretches of their habitat due to sand mining.

  • This divides up the population and increases stress among the individuals, especially during pregnancy
  • Gaps between porpoises in the lake reached 27 kilometres in 2009

Yangtze finless porpoise:

  • IUCN status – critically endangered
  • The Yangtze finless porpoise belongs to the group of animals which also includes dolphins and whales.
  • It is the only freshwater porpoise in the world and breeds just once in 18 months.
  • It is the most critically endangered of its taxonomic group and the species has an 86 per cent chance of becoming extinct in the next century.
  • Yangtze River dolphin was lost
  • The lake is connected to the main body of the Yangtze river by a channel that runs under the Dongting Lake Bridge.
  • The porpoise population would swim to and from the river through this channel but because of sand mining, they were not seen in this channel any longer.

Sand Mining:

  • Overfishing, increased shipping traffic and noise pollution have all been linked with the decline of the porpoise.
  • Sand mining – mining activity posed multiple challenges to this endangered species.
  • Sand mining was banned in the region in 2017
  • Mining-induced loss of near-shore habitats, a critical foraging and nursery ground for the porpoise, occurred in nearly 70 per cent of the water channels
  • Sand mining, which has tripled in the last two decades, is an emerging concern for global biodiversity – Over 50 billion tonnes of sand is mined every year.
  • The menace is most rampant in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • It threatens biodiversity and interferes with ecological processes through “direct physical disturbances, habitat degradation and reducing water quality by altering sedimentation
  • Higher urbanisation has made sand the second-most extracted natural resource in the world after water.
  • Checking sand mining can help the population of the Yangtze finless porpoise to rebound

Sources: DTE

Previous Year Question

Q1) Which one of the following is the national aquatic animal of India?  (2015)

  1. Saltwater crocodile
  2. Olive ridley turtle
  3. Gangetic dolphin
  4. Gharial


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