Lipotidae – Chinese river dolphin
The baiji were the sole survivors of their family before human activity drove them recently to extinction
The Yangtze river dolphin emerged on the planet 20 million years ago, making their species older than the Andes mountain range. Like other river dolphins, the baiji was mostly blind, evolving to adapt to murky waters. They relied on sonar for communication, navigation, emotional expression, and social bonding.
The Goddess of the Yangtze was not maliciously hunted to extinction but the unintended victim of net fishing, electric fishing, and disease caused by water pollution. QiQi was probably the last baiji. He died in captivity in 2002. The tragic fate of this species serves as an urgent warning. It would be worse for the planet if they died in vain.