Thursday, August 9, 2018

Yangtze Finless Porpoises to be Captured

Yangtze Finless Porpoises to be Captured

NOTE: The below is translated from Chinese

The "Smile Elf" Yangtze River Dolphin is a freshwater aquatic mammal that is only distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China. Since the beginning of the last century, the high-density shipping operations of the Yangtze River, the indiscriminate fishing, the extensive use of illegal fishing gear, water pollution, and the construction of water conservancy facilities have made them face the same threats as the white dolphins, and the number of wild animals has fallen sharply. Yangtze finless porpoises are listed in the IUCN Red List of Critically Endangered Species; listed in the Washington Convention CITES Appendix I Endangered Species. On April 11, 2018, the subspecies of the narrow-ridged finless porpoise was upgraded to an independent species. However, their number is still decreasing. On July 24, 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs released the latest 2017 porpoise test results. At present, the number of Yangtze finless porpoises is about 1012!

Recently, the Agriculture Minister Jiangmen issued a notice requesting the selection of 14 Yangtze finless porpoises from Anhui and Hubei related protected areas and transported them to Shanghai Haichang and Guangzhou Changlong Aquarium. This incident has caused many wild people and netizens to discuss it. The following are some of the views of netizens:

◆ The aquarium is too noisy and is not suitable for the endangered species of the finless porpoise. Commercial behavior runs counter to the purpose of protection;

◆ Can the company guarantee the survival rate of the aquarium finless porpoise? The Institute of Aquatic Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has not overcome the artificial breeding technology of finless porpoise for many years, and the breeding success rate is not ideal!

◆ The finless porpoise can be properly bred in the Yangtze River. Just protect the habitat and ecological environment. Why bother!

◆ The swan zhou finless porpoise has a good ex situ conservation and breeding. Why should it be artificially captured and transferred to a closed aquarium for breeding? The root cause of the survival of the finless porpoise is not the breeding problem!

◆ The State should consider prohibiting any commercial activities related to national and secondary protected animals. For science or visits, you can use VR or AR technology to avoid capturing and injuring wildlife.

◆ The protection effect of the Yangtze River has begun to show up. The downward trend of the number of finless porpoises has just been controlled. At this time, it is necessary to increase the protection. Why is it the opposite? Is it necessary to repeat the tragedy of the white porpoise?


The Yangtze finless porpoise is the flagship species of the Yangtze River ecosystem and is closely related to the health of the ecological environment. Protect the Yangtze River's biodiversity by protecting the Yangtze River finless porpoise and promoting the restoration of the Yangtze River ecosystem. Regardless of the protection measures, local protection or ex situ conservation, we hope to delay the decline of the Yangtze finless porpoise population through scientific and reasonable measures, and keep the Yangtze River finless porpoise smile!

Editor's Note / Small Six Review / Xiaofei Edit / Angel

Recently, the Agriculture and Rural Minister Jiang River Basin Fisheries Supervision and Administration Office (hereinafter referred to as “the Minister of Agriculture Jiang Office”) issued a notice requesting the selection of 14 Yangtze finless porpoises from Anhui and Hubei related protected areas and transported them to two aquariums: Guangdong Zhuhai Chang Long Investment Investment Development Co., Ltd. ("Zhuhai Changlong") aquarium and Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World.

On the afternoon of August 3, the relevant staff of the Anhui Provincial Agriculture Committee (referred to as “Anhui Agricultural Committee”) confirmed the above news to the news ( Six of the Yangtze River porpoises were caught and transported from the protected area of ​​Xijiang, Anqing City, Anhui Province.

The staff said that this is not a commercial sale, business conduct, but part of the ex situ conservation action. The related company is a member of the Yangtze River Dolphin Rescue Alliance and does not contradict the participation in the protection of the finless porpoise.

A member of the Yangtze River Dolphin Rescue Alliance initiated by the China Wildlife Conservation Association's Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Branch (“National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Branch”) told the news that “the dolphins” were sent to the two aquariums for breeding. Blowfish. They hope to learn from the experience of the two aquariums breeding other cetaceans to overcome the problem of artificial breeding of Yangtze finless porpoise. The Wuhan Yangtze River Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other institutions have studied the Yangtze finless porpoise for decades, but have not completely overcome this technology. They do not want to repeat the tragedy of the "killing" of the white porpoise.

Yu Daoping, a professor at the Life Science College of Anqing Normal University who has been engaged in the research of finless porpoise for more than 30 years, said that the aquariums in Chimelong and Haichang do have the conditions and experience of raising cetaceans, but different species. Switching to the aquarium to breed the Yangtze finless porpoise, the pool environment is at risk.

Wang Kexiong, a researcher at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has been studying finless porpoise for a long time, participated in a meeting to assess whether the Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom has the conditions for raising Yangtze finless porpoises. He said that to assess the comprehensive ability of an institution in marine mammal breeding, it depends on The survival rate of the progeny of marine mammals in the organization is high and the survival time is long. However, Zhuhai Chimelong did not provide a written report at that time and could not obtain more details.

The dolphins program has been reviewed but not yet implemented

On July 27th, the Anhui Provincial Agriculture Commission issued a document to the Agricultural Committee of Anqing City to forward the notice of the Minister of Agriculture Jiangdong on “moving the porpoise”.

According to the relevant notice requirements, six Yangtze finless porpoises were removed from the Xijiang Yangtze River Sanitary Reserve in Anhui Province, and eight Yangtze finless porpoises were moved from Hubei Swanzhou Baiji Dolphin Reserve. According to the actual situation, they were transported in batches to Changlong (Guangdong) and Haichang. (Shanghai). The National Aquatic Wildlife River Branch coordinated and arranged specific plans.

The notice stated that the "Application Report for Artificial Breeding of Yangtze River Dolphin" and "Technical Plan for Migration and Transportation of Yangtze River Dolphins Ex situ Conservation" was submitted by Zhuhai Changlong Investment Development Co., Ltd., Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World and China Fisheries Research Institute Freshwater Fisheries Research Center. It has been approved. The Minister of Agriculture Jianghua and the Fisheries and Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture organized relevant reviews.

The notice requires the relevant aquariums of Changlong (Guangdong) and Haichang (Shanghai) to apply for the "Changjiang finless porpoise artificial breeding license" as soon as possible, implement hardware facilities, and strengthen technical personnel training.

According to public information, the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom under the Zhuhai Changlong Investment and Development Co., Ltd. is located in the Henglong International Marine Resort in Hengqin, Zhuhai, and integrates rare animals such as whale sharks, beluga whales and polar bears. Haichang Ocean Park Holdings Co., Ltd. official website shows that the company has seven marine theme parks, and two sea parks in Sanya and Zhengzhou are under construction.

Regarding the question of when to transport the porpoise, the aforementioned staff of the Anhui Provincial Agriculture Committee told the news that depending on the weather, it is also necessary to look at the situation of the porpoise, which has not yet been carried out. However, it has been proved by experts that the Yangtze River Office commissioned the National Aquatic Wildlife Protection Branch to organize experts to demonstrate.

The aforementioned “Yangtze River Dolphin Rescue Alliance” staff told 澎湃News that a government agency’s plan for species conservation is not to look at the media, whether NGOs like it or not, but from a species perspective, using experts’ public arguments and rigorous arguments to make decisions. Program.

“Changlong and Haichang have done a good job in the conservation of whales and dolphins. There are many successful experiences. Why can’t they use the finless porpoise? They have very good venues and equipment, take the initiative to take the money, take people out, take The venue came out to help us to breed and protect the finless porpoise. Why not give people a chance?" "I hope to use this window to publicize the public. It is like a giant panda." The staff said.

The staff said that the current "dumpling dolphins" work has not yet been formally implemented. "The finless porpoise has not yet entered the (aquarium) pavilion, the plan is still being revised, but the argumentation meeting has already been opened, the porpoise has been caught, and it is still in the reserve."

According to public information, on July 19, 2017, Zhuhai Changlong Group and the National Aquatic Wildlife Protection Branch signed the “China Aquatic Wildlife Conservation, Breeding and Science Popularization Project Cooperation Agreement” in Chengdu. The two sides decided to jointly cooperate to carry out aquatic wildlife protection, water ecological environmental protection, scientific research and publicity work in China.

Can the pool environment effectively breed finless porpoise?

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the latest ecological science study estimated that the number of Yangtze finless porpoises was about 1012. Although the trend of a large decline in the number of finless porpoises has been curbed, its extremely endangered situation has not changed and remains severe.

The Ministry of Agriculture has established eight Yangtze finless porpoise in situ reserves in the main stream of the Yangtze River, Poyang Lake and Dongting Lake. Four protected areas have been established in the old road of the Yangtze River, and three breeding and protection groups have been established in the artificial environment. At present, the number of ex situ conservation groups of Yangtze River porpoises has exceeded 100, and about 10 young dolphins are born each year.

Yu Daoping, a professor at the College of Life Sciences at Anqing Normal University, said that even the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has a research foundation for the Yangtze River finless porpoise for nearly two decades. There are also precedents for successful breeding of finless porpoise in the pool, but many breeding dolphins are in the air. After a month, he died and only one survived to adulthood. Therefore, switching to the aquarium to breed the Yangtze finless porpoise is still a pool environment and there are still risks.

Wang Kexiong, a researcher at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has long studied the finless porpoise, said that breeding the finless porpoise in an artificial environment, such as artificial feeding, is not a natural ex situ conservation, but may belong to the concept of large ex situ conservation.

Wang Kexiong, a researcher at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that combating illegal fisheries, controlling shipping (a certain restriction on the speed and route of vessels in the habitat of the finless porpoise) and strengthening the frontline patrol work, compared with the breeding of dolphins to the aquarium, The same is urgent.

"If we can release a certain individual from the natural ex situ conservation area with good breeding protection effect to some natural waters with better environmental recovery in the Yangtze River, it is also a new kind to quickly replenish the local wild population. Protection attempts." Wang Kexiong added.

Wang Kexiong said that the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has successfully bred two Yangtze finless porpoises: in 2005, breeding has survived; in 2018, it has been bred and the possibility of survival is relatively large. The institute cultivates a small group of Yangtze finless porpoises for scientific research, not for reintroduction of their wild populations.

"With this supplement, I don't know which year and month will come out," he said.

Earlier, there were comments that the Yangtze River had not raised the finless porpoise. Wang Kexiong said that from the data point of view, the Yangtze River's finless porpoise population in the 1990s, more than 2,700; in 2006, 1,800; in 2012, 1,045; in 2017, 1012. The rate of decline is slowing down. It should be said that the environment of the Yangtze River is improving.

He said that as long as the Yangtze River guarantees enough bait (fish), the habitat environment is relatively stable and quiet, and the space is relatively large. The hope of restoring the wild porpoise population is still relatively large.

"As long as the current protection of the Yangtze River continues, the Yangtze finless porpoise will certainly not disappear like the white porpoise. In the late 1970s, when we paid attention to the white porpoise, it had only 400 left and was in the middle of shipping and fishing. When developing," said Wang Kexiong.

Regarding the public's demand for science and other aspects, Wang Kexiong said that multimedia materials such as videos and photos, as well as media communication, are channels for the public to learn more about rare species. Not all rare species, the public must be in close contact. “If it is conditional, it is good, of course, but it is subject to the population and endangered status of the species. Protection is definitely the core, and ensuring its wild population is the key to protection.”

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Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48

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