Bye Bye Baiji
December 13, 2006 - The Chinese River Dolphin or Baiji was declared functionally extinct on this day. A six-week expedition looking for any trace of the endangered freshwater swimmer came up empty.
The Baiji had been dwindling dramatically over the preceding decades as the Yangtze River was over-fished, polluted and developed for hydroelectric power.
Back in the 1950s there were over 6000 Baiji, but the number dropped to 400 in the 1980s. By 1997 only 13 could be found.
The last known Baiji (Qi Qi) died in 2002. Some researchers still hold out hope that the species may not be completely extinct.