Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve

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The Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve is an area of wetland in the Yangtze basin near Shishou, Hubei province, People's Republic of China. Inside the reserve is the Tian'e-Zhou lake which was an intended sanctuary for the baiji (Yangtze river dolphin) and is currently holding 28 finless porpoises. [1]

Yangtze longest river in China

The Yangtze or Yangzi is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises in the northern part of the Tibetan Plateau and flows 6,300 km (3,900 mi) in a generally easterly direction to the East China Sea. It is the sixth-largest river by discharge volume in the world. Its drainage basin comprises one-fifth of the land area of China, and is home to nearly one-third of the country's population.

Shishou County-level city in Hubei, Peoples Republic of China

Shishou is a county-level city under the administration of the prefectural-level city Jingzhou, in the south of Hubei province, near its border with Hunan province, and is located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. The Swan Islet Wetland of the Yangtze River in this area is the world’s largest national natural reserve both for wild elks(Milu, or David Deer) and for Chinese river dolphins. The Shishou City National Baiji Reserve for Chinese river dolphins is nearby. It shares its name with a stream flowing into the Yangtze River. In addition, the area enjoys convenient transportation, with an hour’s drive from Yueyang East Railway Station on the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway line, and 70 kilometers from Jingzhou Railway Station on the Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu high-speed railway line. Moreover, Shishou boasts a diversified landscape, including mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, terraces and plains, as well as abundant resources such as rice, cotton, oil plants, eggs, fish, and lotus roots.

Hubei Province

Hubei is a landlocked province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Dongting Lake. The provincial capital is Wuhan, a major transportation thoroughfare and the political, cultural, and economic hub of Central China.

Contents

The reserve

In 1988, the River Dolphin Research group in Wuhan proposed the idea of placing the rapidly declining baiji in the Tian'e-Zhou oxbow lake. The reserve was intended to hold any captured baiji, since it had a healthy population of fish and could sustain over 50 baiji if breeding was successful. The oxbow was connected to the Yangtze during the summer season when the water level was high, so nets were installed to ensure the baiji would not escape. Five finless porpoises were first introduced in 1990 to see if it was a suitable habitat. Further relocation attempts took place, however some porpoises died and others escaped the reserve during floods. In 1995, an adult female baiji was caught and immediately transported to the oxbow. After a few days she was seen swimming and feeding. After the 1996 flood she was found dead, entangled in the nets preventing her from leaving the reserve. Scientists studying her stomach contents show that there was little food inside, likely as a result of competition with more aggressive porpoises. She was the last baiji to live in the Tian'e-Zhou reserve. [2]

Oxbow lake U-shaped lake formed by a cut-off meander of a river

An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake that forms when a wide meander of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water. This landform is so named for its distinctive curved shape, which resembles the bow pin of an oxbow. In Australia, an oxbow lake is called a billabong, from the indigenous Wiradjuri language. In south Texas, oxbows left by the Rio Grande are called resacas.

Finless porpoise species of porpoise

The Indo-Pacific finless porpoise, or finless porpoise, is one of seven porpoise species. Most of the population has been found around the Korean peninsula in the Yellow and East China Seas, although a freshwater population is found around Jiuduansha near Shanghai at the mouth of China's Yangtze River. Genetic studies indicate that the finless porpoise is the most basal living member of the porpoise family.

Baiji species of river dolphin

The baiji is a type of freshwater dolphin thought to be the first dolphin species driven to extinction due to the impact of humans. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze". Since Baiji means 'white fin' in Chinese, it means 'white-finned dolphin'. In China, the dolphin is also called Chinese river dolphin, Yangtze River dolphin, whitefin dolphin and Yangtze dolphin. It was regarded as the goddess of protection by local fishermen and boatmen in China. It is not to be confused with the Chinese white dolphin or the finless porpoise.

See also

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Porpoise Small cetacean of the family Phocoenidae

Porpoises are a group of fully aquatic marine mammals, all of which are classified under the family Phocoenidae, parvorder Odontoceti. There are seven extant species of porpoise. They are small toothed whales that are very closely related to oceanic dolphins. The most obvious visible difference between the two groups is that porpoises have shorter beaks and flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins. Porpoises, and other cetaceans, belong to the clade Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates, and their closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, having diverged from them about 40 million years ago.

River dolphin Common name concerning different taxa once grouped in a single superfamily but now split into several ones

River dolphins are a polyphyletic group of fully aquatic mammals that reside exclusively in freshwater or brackish water. They are an informal grouping of dolphins, which itself is a paraphyletic group within the infraorder Cetacea. The river dolphins comprise the extant families Platanistidae, Iniidae and Pontoporiidae. There are five extant species of river dolphins. River dolphins, alongside other cetaceans, belong to the clade Cetartiodactyla, with even-toed ungulates, and their closest living relatives the hippopotamuses, from which they diverged about 40 million years ago.

Dongting Lake large, shallow lake in northeastern Hunan province, China

Dongting Lake is a large, shallow lake in northeastern Hunan province, China. It is a flood basin of the Yangtze River. Hence the lake's size depends on the season. The provinces of Hubei and Hunan are named after their location relative to the lake: Hubei means "North of the Lake" and Hunan, "South of the Lake".

Poyang Lake Largest freshwater lake in China and is located in Jiangxi Province

Poyang Lake, located in Jiangxi Province, is the largest freshwater lake in China.

Cetacean bycatch

Cetacean bycatch is the incidental capture of non-target cetacean species such as dolphins, porpoises, and whales by fisheries. Bycatch can be caused by entanglement in fishing nets and lines, or direct capture by hooks or in trawl nets.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong

The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong, often referred to by its initialism OPCFHK is the conglomerate of the former Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCF) and The Hong Kong Society for Panda Conservation (HKSPC) established under the Ocean Park Corporation, with effect from 1 July 2005. It is a registered charitable non-governmental organisation.

The Yangtze Freshwater Dolphin Expedition 2006 (长江淡水豚类考察) was a six-week search expedition undertaken in November and December 2006 in central China in an attempt to locate continued proof of the existence of the endangered baiji Yangtze dolphin. It was carried out under the direction of the Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology and the Swiss-based baiji.org Foundation and was notable for drawing to an end without any positive results. Thus it was announced that the species was functionally extinct.

Functional extinction End of viability for a population

Functional extinction is the extinction of a species or other taxon such that:

  1. It disappears from the fossil record, or historic reports of its existence cease;
  2. The reduced population no longer plays a significant role in ecosystem function; or
  3. The population is no longer viable. There are no individuals able to reproduce, or the small population of breeding individuals will not be able to sustain itself due to inbreeding depression and genetic drift, which leads to a loss of fitness.
Wildlife of China

China's vast and diverse landscape is home to a profound variety and abundance of wildlife. As of one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, China has, according to one measure, 7,516 species of vertebrates including 4,936 fish, 1,269 bird, 562 mammal, 403 reptile and 346 amphibian species. In terms of the number of species, China ranks third in the world in mammals, eighth in birds, seventh in reptiles and seventh in amphibians.

Yi'an District, formerly Tongling County, is a district of the city of Tongling, in the south of Anhui province, lying on the southern and eastern (right) bank of the Yangtze River. The total area is 1,113 km2 (430 sq mi). The population is 716,300.

Poyang Lake Dam dam in Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China

The Poyang Lake Dam, referred to as the Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project, is dam proposed to maintain water levels at Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, China. The lake is China's largest freshwater resource but has significantly decreased in size during the 21st century due to heavy damming, drought and dredging. Construction of the dam can also cause severe damages on remnant population of finless porpoises.

Tianzhou or Tian Zhou may refer to:

Jiuduansha Intertidal wetlands of Shanghai

Jiuduansha is a collection of four intertidal wetland shoals at the mouth of China's Yangtze River. They are administered as an island region of the municipality of Shanghai's Pudong New Area.

Narrow-ridged finless porpoise species of mammal

The narrow-ridged finless porpoise is a newly accepted species, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), of porpoise endemic to the western Yangtze river in China and the East China Sea, Yellow Sea, and around Japan. There are two subspecies: the Yangtze finless porpoise and the East Asian finless porpoise. After the functional extinction of the Yangtze river dolphin and the rapid decreasing of population, the Chinese government has given this species the utmost conservation status of National First Grade Key Protected Wild Animal to ensure its survival. Global conservation agencies and charities, such as the World Wildlife Fund and IUCN, have been collaborating with the Chinese government to ensure the survival of the species.

References

  1. "Scientists Join Hands to Seek the Last Yangtze River Dolphin". WWF China. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  2. Samuel Turvey, Witness to Extinction. Retrieved 2011-08-12.