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Alliance established to protect rare finless porpoises

(People's Daily Online)    16:54, June 14, 2017

Saving Yangtze Finless Porpoise Alliance, an organization made up of 50 government institutions, research centers, nature reserves and NGOs, was launched on June 13 in an effort to protect the endangered species.

“The establishment of the alliance is a milestone of social participation in finless porpoise protection. We welcome more social organizations, enterprises and individuals to join this cause, hoping that others make more contributions to the protection of the endangered animal,” said Li Yanliang, director of the alliance and an official from the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the alliance’s protection plan, by the end of 2020, five nature reserves will be established for the animal, which are large enough to accommodate up to 200 porpoises. Approximately 200 former fishermen will be hired to patrol the river, and a protection database will also be set up.

The alliance has developed a mobile app named “Porpoise Butler,” which will be launched in July. The app can automatically record patrol routes and semi-automatically detect injured porpoises and illegal poaching.

Known for their expressive faces and mild temperament, finless porpoises are only found in the Yangtze River and two lakes linked to the busy waterway. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the World Wildlife Fund, the river’s porpoise population stood at about 1,040 that year, compared to 2,700 in 1991. Despite measures to protect the population, the endangered species continues to drop by 13.7 percent every year, mainly caused by overfishing, river traffic and pollution. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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