The Baiji, or white dolphin, is extinct. According to CNN.com an expedition team searched more than 1,000 miles of the Yangtze River in China for six weeks without finding a single dolphin. The rare dolphin was native to that one river and the team has declared one of the world’s oldest species effectively extinct.

The Baiji dolphin is the latest large aquatic animal driven to extinction since overfishing and hunting caused extinction of the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s. Scientists say heavy traffic, pollution and overfishing in the Yangtze River directly resulted in the death of this river species. A species has been wiped off the planet by carelessness.

Other factors may have contributed, but people are still culpable. The dwindling numbers should have been a red flag to alert authorities to action.

Because nothing was done and now nothing can be done the world of our children and grandchildren will not know the rare white Baiji dolphin. The Yangtze River in China will no longer hold the beauty of this aquatic mammal and it will never be the same. We have the means and the knowledge to prevent the extinction of animals, and it is our duty and in our own best interests to do so.

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