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Too late for the Chinese River Dolphin

18 Dec 2006 / in natural world
In 1989 when I was travelling through India, I had the very great privilege of spotting a Ganges River Dolphin. It was completely thrilling and one of those profound moments where everything that is truly important to me surfaced in a rush of ‘yesness’, like a mental orgasm.

Theists might describe such a moment as a religious experience, but I put it down to being conscious, human and (though I didn’t know it at the time) pregnant.

So it is with great sadness that I read that the Chinese River Dolphin, also known as the baiji (pictured), has been declared functionally extinct after cruising gracefully through the waters for 25 millions years. You may say ‘well, it’s only a bloody cetacean’ but what will be the next creature to go? Knowing that human activity has destroyed this beautiful creature makes me ashamed to be human.

There are simply too many people on this earth, and too many people doing stupid exploitative, disrespectful things to it. More species will die unless we dramatically reduce human birth rate.

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