The baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was native only to China's Yangtze River. The baiji was declared "functionally extinct" in 2006.
Illustration by Else Bostelmann, National Geographic
On December 12, 2006, biologists declared the baiji (Chinese river dolphin) "functionally extinct." The international authority on endangered species (the IUCN) classifies the baiji as “critically endangered,” although there have been no confirmed baiji sightings in recent years.
Baiji were freshwater dolphins, one of only four known species. They were indigenous to China's Yangtze River. Their numbers fell from more than 6,000 in the 1950s to about 400 by 1984. Factors contributing to their extinction include fishing, dams, and industrial pollution.
scientist who studies living organisms.
structure built across a river or other waterway to control the flow of water.
organism threatened with extinction.
no longer existing.
element contributing to an event or outcome.
to catch or harvest fish.
having to do with a habitat or ecosystem of a lake, river, or spring.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
having to do with factories or mechanical production.
environmental organization concerned with preserving natural ecosystems and habitats.
introduction of harmful materials into the environment.