Giant Chinese paddlefish called the ‘Panda of the Yangtze River’ has been declared extinct
Giant Chinese paddlefish called the ‘Panda of the Yangtze River’ has been declared extinct due to overfishing and habitat loss
- The giant Chinese paddle fish is extinct up to 10 feet long
- Researchers say that the indigenous Yangtze River has been influenced by human activity
- Conservation efforts on endangered Yangtze fish are now urgently needed.
China has named its giant paddle fish “the Panda of the Yangtze River” because of its huge size, extinct after decades of overfishing.
According to scientists at the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Psephurus gladius, which can grow to be 22 feet, was extinct between 2005 and 2010.
The extinction is caused by overfishing since the 1970s and people destroying their habitat. Pollution and urbanization also played a role in their downfall.
There were only 210 sightings of “the giant panda of the rivers” between 1981 and January 2003, when the last living specimen was found and released back into the river.
The giant Chinese paddlefish is said to be up to 22 feet long, but was on average about 10 feet long – one of the largest freshwater fish in the world
“We estimate the timing of extinction in 2005 and no later than 2010,” the researchers say Science of the total environment.
The fish, which was on average about 10 feet long, came from the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia, along with a varied selection of megafauna – large or giant animals.
THE BIGGEST FRESHWATER FISH OF THE WORLD
1. Beluga sturgeon: 20-24 feet, Caspian Sea and the Black Sea
2. White sturgeon, 20 feet, North America
3. Giant freshwater stingray, 16.4 feet, Thailand
4. Welsh Catfish 16 feet, Central and Eastern Europe
5. Chinese Paddlefish, 10 feet of Yangtze river
These include the Chinese Alligator, the Finless Porpoise and the Yangtze sturgeon – two of which are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN red list, while the harbor porpoise is described as vulnerable.
The team carried out a basin-wide investigation between 2017 and 2018 and of the 332 found fish species it did not find any living specimens of Chinese paddlefish.
The team reported another 140 historically reported species of fish that were not found, most of which were considered highly endangered.
The ecosystem has been affected by human activity, which has led to a loss of biodiversity, possibly resulting in the extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin – which was declared extinct but later reportedly observed in 2016.
Psephurus gladius was previously mentioned as ‘critically endangered, possibly extinct’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and has been ‘functionally extinct’ since 1993 – meaning that the species no longer plays an active role in its ecosystem because it is unable to to produce.
The fish, which was on average about 10 feet long, was native to the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia, along with a varied selection of mega fauna – large or gigantic animals
There were only 210 sightings of ‘the giant panda of the rivers’ between 1981 and January 2003, when the last living specimen was found and released back into the river
It is likely that lack of reproduction was one of the main causes of extinction, but a population decline in general since the late 1970s is a result of overfishing and fragmentation of habitats.
While the last living Chinese paddle fish monster was observed in 2003, another was illegally fished and died four years later with six hooks in his body.
Another contribution was the construction of the Gezhouba Dam in 1981, which blocked the being’s migration route.
The Chinese Alligator is also native to the Yangtze River and is classified as seriously endangered
Preserved living tissues of an extinct species can be generated using cloning or genome processing – a process known as ‘de-extinction’ – but not living tissue of Psephurus gladius has been preserved.
Therefore, the species should be considered extinct on the IUCN Red List, the researchers say, which is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.
Psephurus gladius was one of only two surviving members of a population that was widespread about 34-75 million years ago, the team says, and efforts in the area of conservation are urgently needed.
WHAT IS THE HAZARDOUS ‘RED LIST’?
Species on the endangered red list are animals with the highest conservation priority that need ‘urgent action’ to save.
An Amber list is reserved for the next most critical group, followed by a green list.
Red list criteria:
- Endangered worldwide
- Historical population decline in the UK during 1800-1995
- Serious (at least 50 percent) decline in UK breeding population in the last 25 years
- Severe (at least 50 percent) reduction in UK breeding range in the last 25 years
Last year some species were added to the list in the UK.
- Atlantic puffin
- Duck with long tail
- Turtle pigeon