The Chinese river dolphin is a fresh water dolphins found swimming in the Yangtze river which is located in China.
Once a thriving population this species is now unfortunately considered extinct (or severely depleted to the point that they will soon become extinct).
While not much is known about their diet they have been known to eat a large variety of fish found swimming throughout the Yangtze river.
These dolphins are also known as “the Baiji dolphin” and have been called the “Goddess of the Yangtze“.
The Chinese river dolphin has a pale blue to gray back with a white stomach and chest.
These dolphins can grow to an average length of 7 – 8 ft. and weigh as much as 500 pounds.
They have a stocky yet streamlined build and a long beak-like snout which helps them burrow into small crevices in search of food.
The females dolphins typically grow larger than their male counter parts.
Not much is known about the social structure of these dolphins partly because sightings were extremely rear and partly because they are shy creatures.
From what is known these dolphins are found traveling in small pods of 4 – 5 dolphins and may grow to groups of 16 or more during social gatherings.
They communicate using a series of clicks and whistles which is also believed to be used for echolocation to help them search for food.
Due to the fact that these dolphins are only found living in the Yangtze river they are not considered migratory marine mammals.
These dolphins have also been spotted traveling with finless porpoises which suggests that they may share a close relationship with them.
The Chinese river dolphins are believed to breed during the early months of the year.
The average gestation period (the period from conception to birth) lasts about 10 – 11 months.
It is also believed that these dolphins reproduce once every 24 months, however with such depleted numbers reproduction has either likely halted or occurs much less frequently (assuming they are still in existence).
After birth the mother whale nurses her newborn for up to 1 & 1/2 years and in some cases they may feed slightly longer.
Sexual maturity is reached between the ages of 4 – 6.
These dolphins are estimated to live till around the age of 25.
Today the Chinese river dolphin is considered extinct.
The primary reason that lead to their extinction was caused by the booming growth of the industrialization era that occurred in China.
In recent years the Yangtze river had changed from a largely agricultural environment to a busy waterway for ships, industry, pollution and illegal fishing.
This species was officially considered extinct on December 13, 2006 after an unsuccessful 45 day search where scientists failed to find a single dolphin.
On occasion reports of these dolphins do surface, however without sufficient data or proof these dolphins will continue to remain under the profile of being extinct.