Skip to main content

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River DolphinBy Samuel Turvey
Paperback : 256 Pages
October 15, 2009

Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin is without a doubt, one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It is the true life account of the final Yangzte River Survey to locate any remaining Baiji, and the story of the Baiji and Chinese conservation in general.

Turvey, who was the lead author on the paper that announced the probable extinction of the species back in 2006, cares deeply for this subject, and pours out his frustration with the international conservation community. I had never realized the amount of bureaucracy involved, it gets really infuriating just reading it. The book details all of the failed efforts over time, juxtaposing them with the successes and failures of other species around the world.

QiQi, the only successful captive Baiji
I’m really glad I read this book. It gave me new insight into wildlife conservation and all of the steps and measures required to save a species from being gone forever. Unfortunately, Turvey’s Yangtze Project was too late, and the fabled River Dolphin is most like extinct. Witness serves as a passionate and well-written warning to scientists and lay-people alike about the fragility of our endangered species and speed at which they can disappear without true, proactive help.

Recommended to anyone with an interest in Dolphins, Endangered Species, or Conservation in general.


Popular posts from this blog

Greater Kudu

Tragelaphus strepsiceros The Greater Kudu is one of the largest Antelope species out there, which the largest males standing over 5ft tall at the shoulder and weighing over 600lbs. They sport horns that equally as impressive in size-- the record is 72in. You'll find the Greater Kudus in southern and eastern Africa, where they inhabit scrub woodlands. Their brown coloration and white stripes allow them to remain camouflaged within these woody surroundings. The Kudus are most active at dawn and dusk, and spend the daytime hours hidden in these forested areas. However, their stripes are not their only defensive mechanism; they also sport very large ears that allow them to hear approaching danger. When alerted, the Antelope can try and bound away to safety. Female Greater Kudus tend to live in moderately sized groups with other females and offspring. Most mature males are solitary, and will only join up with these herds during the breeding period that corresponds with the end


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a