Yangtze River Dolphin Facts
- Firstly, on most lists, the remarkable Yangtze River Dolphin ranks now as the rarest known creature in the world. Sadly, this holds true due to the recent extinction of the Pinta Island Tortoise.
- In fact, most experts, including the IUCN, also 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 the creature was rather numerous in the Yangtze River. But, its numbers dwindled rapidly in modern times. This primarily occurred due to the industrialization of its river habitat by China.
- Most notably, these uses included a wide range of services. These consisted of transportation, commercial fishing, and hydroelectricity, all of which greatly disturbed its habitat.
Yangtze River Dolphin Physical Description
Firstly, in coloring, the lovely Yangtze River Dolphin primarily displays a blue-grey. The exception of this, however, is the stomach. This part of the body most commonly presents an off-white color.
The amazing dolphin also displays a small degree of sexual dimorphism. As result, females typically grow slightly larger than the males.
In addition, females typically reach a little more than 8 ft (2.5 m) in length. Meanwhile, the males attain a length of roughly 7.5 ft (2.3 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.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Lipotidae
- Genus: Lipotes
- Species: L. vexillifer
Yangtze River Dolphin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Historically, the Yangtze River Dolphin, also known as the Baiji, primarily inhabited the lower half of the Yangtze River, in Asia. This, therefore, serves as the source of 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 unfortunately know little of its preferred habitat. However, the majority of sightings usually occur far from shore. It is assumed this is its preferred territory.
While occasional possible sightings still occur, the last confirmed sighting of this species happened in 2007.