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November 14 2012

Expedition to Count Endangered Chinese Porpoises


How many finless porpoises are left in China's Yangtze River? An expedition is under way to count how many of these endangered animals survive in the heavily polluted waterway.

There are less than 1,800 of the animals in the wild, mainly in the central and lower reaches of the 3,915-mile (6,300 kilometers) Yangtze River and two large adjoining lakes, Dongting and Poyang.

Two recent surveys found that populations of the endangered animal, the only freshwater finless porpoise in the world, had plummeted in Dongting Lake. Numbers in Poyang, however, remained relatively stable 450 porpoises were counted there, the WWF, which is helping to organize the expedition, reported.

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