Stranger Fruit

Back last December I reported that the Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) was "effectively extinct". Now I must report that the species has been declared officially extinct, the first official extinction of a large vertebrate for more than 50 years.


  1. #1 John Marley
    August 8, 2007

    This is terrible!

    I first heard of the Yangtze River dolphin in Douglas Adams’ appropriately named Last Chance to See. That book inspired me to donate to the World Wildlife Fund. (Unfortunately, I can’t afford to donate to the more specific charities.)

  2. #2 Warren
    August 8, 2007

    Adams, from Last Chance to See:

    As I watched the wind ruffling over the bilious surface of the Yangtze, I realised with the vividness of shock that somewhere beneath or around me there were intelligent animals whose perceptive universe we could scarcely begin to imagine, living in a seething, poisoned, deafening world, and that their lives were probably passed in continual bewilderment, hunger, pain, and fear.

    I sure hope we’re able to nurture in our great-grandchildren a healthy appreciation of vermin species; at this rate that’s all they’ll have left.

  3. #3 Not My Second Opinion
    August 9, 2007

    Why am I not surprised that this took place in China… :-\

  4. #4 John Lynch
    August 9, 2007

    A longer extract from Adams’ great book is here.

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