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Steps taken to protect Poyang's porpoises

By Wang Jian and Cang Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-12 10:52

A Yangtze finless porpoise is seen in Poyang Lake in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, in 2018.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Agricultural and fishery administrations in Jiangxi province have rolled out measures to protect finless porpoises, which have faced dramatic changes in their living environment as Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, has entered the dry season 100 days early.

The species-dubbed the "smiling angel" because its smooth, gray face appears to be fixed in a permanent grin-is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It now lives only along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

The number of the species had declined to 1,012 in 2017, with 457 living in Poyang Lake, according to Thepaper.cn.

However, as the water level fell to less than 12 meters in August, the lake entered this year's dry season the earliest since records began in 1951, and more than two months earlier than the average starting date between 2003 and 2021.

Severe drought has reduced the lake by 75 percent, according to the local agricultural department. The significant reduction of water has seriously affected the survival of the finless porpoise species.

Last weekend, a traveler to the northern shoreline of Poyang Lake in the city of Jiujiang posted a video showing the dead body of a finless porpoise on a dry riverbed.

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