In Search of the Baiji: An Adventure in China
by D. W. Hoard and S. Wachter

Update 1995: A Female Baiji

On December 27, 1995, we received the following email from Zhang Xianfeng:

Dear Donald/Stefanie:

At the end of 1995, may have a very merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Santa Claus came early here in Wuhan this year since one female baiji, body length 2.29m, body weight about 150kg was successfully caught and it had been safely moved to Shishou Semi-natural Reserve in Dec. 19, 1995. All of us are very happy to get the new dolphin for our research. This news also makes all whale and dolphin people around the world very happy, they think that this is the best gift for the coming New Year. By the way, thanks a lot for your greetings and the photograph! All best!

Yours, Zhang Xianfeng,
from the Institute of Hydrobiology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, PR China.

Subsequent news reports stated that the female dolphin had been injured by fishermen prior to her capture, but was recovering well and interacting nicely with the small group of finless porpoises already in the Shishou reserve. Unfortunately, the female died in June of 1996 after becoming entangled in a net that separates the semi-natural reserve from the Yangtze River. Extreme flooding of the Yangtze was blamed in part for contributing to the conditions that allowed the baiji to become trapped in the net.

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