News of the WeekConservation Biology

Last Stand on the Yangtze

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Science  23 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5990, pp. 378
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5990.378

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The world's only freshwater porpoise, the Yangtze finless porpoise, is down to fewer than 1800 individuals, less than half the estimated population a decade ago. A few dozen porpoises live under the watchful gaze of rangers in Tian-E-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve, an oxbow lake that once was a 21-kilometer-long section of the Yangtze River. But time is running out: Unless threats to its survival are met head on, the porpoise could be gone in 15 years, ecologists say.