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Ecological protection prevents further drop in number of Yangtze finless porpoise

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    17:03, December 28, 2018


The decline in the population of Yangtze finless porpoise, known in Chinese as the “smiling angel,” has been significantly curbed, thanks to government projects to remediate water pollution and overfishing and to develop artificial breeding projects, as well as greater awareness of endangered species, according to new research.

Today, there are about 1,012 Yangtze finless porpoises, which is less than 60 percent of the number of giant pandas. Fortunately, the decline trend has markedly slowed since 2012, suggesting that the conservation measures are effective, according to official statistics released last year.

Scientists believe moving these endangered creatures to natural conservation areas provides them with a good living environment and keeps away pollution created by the busy water transportation.

Therefore, about 30 to 40 porpoises were taken to Tian’ezhou Nature Reserve in central China’s Hubei province—a lake linked to the Yangtze River by a stream, in the early 1990s. After years of endeavor, there are now about 80 porpoises living in this area.

“We found that the porpoises cannot only survive at this natural reservation but also reproduce naturally and successfully. That’s very encouraging,” said Wang Ding, a porpoise expert from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In addition, a series of action plans were launched at the end of 2016, including strengthening conservation of Tian’ezhou Nature Reserve, establishing more protection areas, and promoting research on artificial breeding.

These action plans have been running smoothly. Many local fishermen have given up fishing to help keep watch on the animals in this Natural Reserve, contributing their efforts to help save China’s “smiling angels.”

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

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