Thursday, January 4, 2007

International year of the dolphin

As we start the international year of the dolphin, it's worth pausing to acknowledge a very sad milestone in our history. Last month, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society reported the loss of the baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin. This was the first recorded extinction of a cetacean species to be caused by human activity. As the website says:

"The baiji represents a loss not just of a species but a whole family of animals which were endemic to the Yangtze River and evolved separately to other whales and dolphins for over 20 million years. The baiji was described as a ‘living fossil’, remaining as it had, unchanged for at least 3 million years since it first left the sea to swim into the Yangtze River."

Echoes of Chief Seattle who in 1884 is reported as having said, “What happens to beasts will happen to man. All things are connected. If the beasts are gone, man would surely die of a great loneliness of spirit.”

(With thanks to Gregory Norminton's blog for alterting me to this issue.)

3 comments:

Corporate Blawg said...

This article has pierced the steely veil of Corporate Blawg's business brain. Through starched white collars and knee-deep skin, this appalling message has cut Corporate Blawg to the quick, so he'll be quick:

Corporate Blawg joined the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society when he was 8 years old, and dreamed of being a Marine Conservationist. These dreams ended with the realisation of raging hormones and the reality of spending months on a small boat with no company but an old professor and a wireless radio.

Despite shifting to Corporate Law, Corporate Blawg still finds this tale of the Yangtze River Dolphin a real d(r)owner.

Thanks for bringing this to Corporate Blawg's attention. Let's hope someone has some DNA in a tube somewhere to bring those puppies back into existence.

Rock on Tim Kevan - hope to see you at the first UK Blawgers Conference (I think Geeklawyer is arranging it).

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Wow, it had been alive for 3 million years and in the last month it has become extinct. That has to be nature sending us a warning message.

Ellee said...

Nature is cruel not to look after its own better.