River pigs dying of hunger

Experts warn that this species of mammals could disappear in the next few years. Chinese media have reported that since the beginning of this year, killing 16 of river dolphins. This species is in danger of extinction, and experts believe the causes contributing to the extinction of these mammals — water pollution and climate change.

Freshwater dolphins, known in China as the "river pig", live in the Yangtze River and two lakes are connected with it. Over the past two months, the City Yuyang, located on the shore of Lake Dongting in the central province of Hunan, said the 10 dolphins found dead.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that from the beginning of year six "river pigs" were found dead in the lake Poyand, in the eastern province of Jiangxi. Experts warn that the species could disappear in the next few years.

Keksiong Wang, a researcher at the China Institute of hydrobiological, said the possible causes of this situation are water pollution, dredging, shipping, and illegal fishing. The water in the rivers and lakes of China heavily polluted with toxic waste from factories and farms, which for three decades of rapid economic development does not comply with environmental regulations. In the report, scientists reported that, for this reason, and also because of climate change lowered the water level in the reservoirs and the food supply "river pigs" exhausted. As shown by laboratory tests, many dolphins have died of starvation, said Wang Keksiong.

In 2006, China's only vodilos 1200 river dolphins. In the same year peyshi (baytszy) — Chinese lake dolphin of the Yangtze River — was declared extinct.

In 2012, researchers counted only 65 "river pig" in Dongting Lake and 300-400 — Poyand the lake, the report said. Following the recent cases, the City Yuyang promised to investigate and protect the remaining animals.

Chinese "river pig" was first described in 1918 by zoologists in the freshwater Dongting Lake in Hunan Province. These dolphins dorsal fin white, like a flag, which is why the locals call it "peyshi" — the white flag.

According to the paleontological excavations, river dolphins in the Yangtze migrated from the Pacific Ocean about 20 000 years ago. The first mention of them dates back to the Han Dynasty. Dolphins traditionally protected by custom, as the ancient Chinese believed that their river god, natural enemies, they have not.

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