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Endangered finless porpoises get more feed

( Xinhua )

Updated: 2012-05-23

Finless porpoises in Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, recently saw their food supply increase, as 50,000 fish were put into the lake on Monday in a bid to protect the endangered species in east China's Jiangxi province, local fishery authorities said.

Jiangxi fishery officials discharged about 50,000 carp into the Laoyemiao waters, a finless porpoise protection zone in the lake, which will increase the finless porpoises' food supply and protect the biological diversity of the lake, said Zhang Limin, head of the Fishery Bureau of Poyang Lake.

Poyang Lake is home to 300 to 500 finless porpoises, or one-third of the country's total, making the lake one of the species' most important habitats.

However, the species' population has been dwindling.

An official survey conducted in 2006 showed that the number of finless porpoises in the Yangtze River stood at only 1,400 -- or less than half of the total in the 1990s, and the population has been falling at a rate of 7 percent annually.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 20 of these animals have been found dead in the Yangtze River and two lakes, including Poyang Lake. Initial autopsies showed that most of them died of starvation.

Poyang Lake has reported the deaths of six porpoises so far this year.

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