Yangtze River Dolphin Facts
- On most lists, the remarkable Yangtze River Dolphin ranks now as the rarest known creature in the world, with the recent extinction of the Pinta Island Tortoise.
- In fact, most experts, including the IUCN, consider it to now be functionally extinct. This means that its numbers have shrunk below the level of its ability to sustain a stable population.
- Once rather numerous in the Yangtze River, its numbers dwindled rapidly as China industrialized the river. These uses included transportation, commercial fishing, and hydroelectricity, all of which greatly disturbed its habitat.
Yangtze River Dolphin Physical Characteristics
In coloring, the lovely Yangtze River Dolphin generally displays a blue-grey, with the exception of the stomach. This most commonly presents an off-white color.
The dolphin also displays a small degree of sexual dimorphism, with females growing slightly larger than the males. Females typically reach a little more than 8 ft (2.5 m) in length, while the males attain a length of roughly 7.5 ft (2.e m). Yet both genders average around 500 lb (220 kg) in weight.
While never successfully bred in captivity, experts estimate its average lifespan in the wild to be 24 years.
Species: L. vexillifer
Yangtze River Dolphin Habitat and Distribution
Historically, the Yangtze River Dolphin, also known as the Baiji, primarily inhabited the lower half of the Yangtze River, in Asia, hence one of its common names.
However, its habitat range also included Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake, and the much smaller Qiantang River. Since sightings also occur rarely, experts know little of its preferred habitat, except that sightings usually occur far from shore.
While occasional possible sightings still occur, the last confirmed sighting of this species happened in 2007.