22 December 2006

Sad but important

I've written in this journal before about some of my excitement concerning the discovery of new species. (For example, here; here; here; here.)

Unfortunately, this time the news is about the reverse: the loss of a species instead of the discovery of one. Science reports that a rare Chinese river dolphin, the baiji, has not been sighted in a recent survey specifically intended to look for it. And none are alive in captivity. Which means that while it may not be formally extinct (there may be a few individuals left), it's so close to it that it's past the point of no return.

Douglas Adams wrote about the conservation efforts in his book Last Chance to See.... In the blog Another Chance to See, it's noted that the Chinese considered the dolphin a goddess of the river.

If we can't look after our gods, what hope for the rest of the life we share this planet with?

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