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The baiji (Chinese: ; pinyin: (Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning "left behind", vexillifer "flag bearer") was a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze" (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ;pinyin: Chng Jing nshn) in China, the dolphin is also called Chinese river dolphin, Yangtze River dolphin, whitefin dolphin and Yangtze dolphin. It is not to be confused with the Chinese white dolphin or the finless porpoise. The baiji population declined drastically in decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, andhydroelectricity. Efforts were made to conserve the species, but a late 2006 expedition failed to find any baiji in the river. Organizers declared the baijifunctionally extinct,[4] which would make it the first known aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the demise of the Japanese sea lion and the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s. It would also be the first recorded extinction of a well-studied cetacean species (it is unclear if some previously extinct varieties were species or subspecies) to be directly attributable to human influence. In August 2007, a Chinese man reportedly videotaped a large white animal swimming in the Yangtze.[5] Although it was tentatively confirmed that the animal on the video is probably a baiji,[6] the presence of only one or a few animals, particularly of advanced age, is not enough to save a functionally extinct species from true extinction. The last known living baiji was Qi Qi (), who died in 2002. A miocene extinct related species is Parapontoporia. bijtn (helpinfo))

Anatomy and morphology[edit]

Baiji were thought to breed in the first half of the year, the peak calving season being from February to April. [7] A 30% pregnancy rate was observed.[8]Gestation would last 1011 months, delivering one calf at a time; the interbirth interval was 2 years. Calves measured around 8090 centimetres (3135 in) at birth, and nursed for 820 months.[9] Males reached sexual maturity at age four, females at age six.[9] Mature males were about 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in) (7.5 ft) long, females 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in), the longest specimen 2.7 metres (8 ft 10 in).[9] The animal weighed 135230 kilograms (300-510 lb),[9] with a lifespan estimated at 24 years in the wild.[10] When escaping from danger, the baiji could reach 60 km/h (37 mph), but usually stayed within 10 to 15 km/h (69 mph). Because of its poor vision, the baiji relied mainly on sonar for navigation.

Historically the baiji occurred along 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi) of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze from Yichang in the west to the mouth of the river, near to Shanghai, as well as in Poyang and Dongting lakes, and the smaller Qiantang river to the south. This had been reduced by several hundred kilometres both upstream and downstream, and was limited to the main channel of the Yangtze, principally the middle reaches between the two large tributary lakes, Dongting and Poyang.[11] Approximately 12% of the worlds human population lives and works within the Yangtze River catchment area, putting pressure on the river. [12] The construction of the Three Gorges Dam, along with other smaller damming projects, also led to habitat loss.