O HAI. Just Me. Finless Porpoise.


Photo: Kenichi Nobusue

Japanese photographer Kenichi Nobusue snapped this wonderful photo of a smiling finless porpoise at the Miyajima Public Aquarium, but the species in the wild doesn't have much to smile about.

According to The Japan Times, the population of finless porpoise in the Yangtze River, China, are in trouble:

China’s river porpoises are rarer than pandas, but fishermen fighting to save them have been snared by a net of blackmail allegations, highlighting uncertainties faced by the country’s emerging environmentalists.

Fewer than 1,000 finless porpoises — gray animals with a hint of a grin on their bulbous faces — are thought to remain in and around the Yangtze River, which carves through the center of China.

The porpoises are social and “pick up on human emotions like children would,” said Hao Yujiang, a researcher at China’s Institute of Hydrobiology. “They are the last mammals alive in the Yangtze, and they are a warning about the dire state of the river.”

“The numbers have decreased very quickly,” added Hao, who blames the decline on rampant overfishing — sometimes with electric charges — industrial pollution and sand-dredging ships trapping the animals in their propellers.

Because of declining population, the Yangtze finless porpoise has been listed as critically endangered species in 2013 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.


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