Wednesday, August 08, 2007

So Long, Lipotes Vexillifer

The BBC is reporting that researchers believe the Yangtze river dolphin is now extinct. If that news doesn't seem immediate to you, consider this:
"This extinction represents the disappearance of a complete branch of the evolutionary tree of life and emphasizes that we have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet."

If confirmed, it would be the first extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years.
"Unlike most historical-era extinctions of large bodied animals, the baiji was the victim not of active persecution but incidental mortality resulting from massive-scale human environmental impacts - primarily uncontrolled and unselective fishing," the researchers concluded.
If it can happen in China, it can happen here in Florida, where "incidental mortality" from "human activities" has placed 56 animals on the endangered species list.

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