Der Zoologische Garten (2023)

DOI: 10.53188/zg0021


With the functional extinction of the Yangtze River dolphin or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) based on the survey conducted in 2006, the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaorientalis) is now the only surviving freshwater cetacean species in the Yangtze River. Due to similar threats from various anthropogenic activities in the Yangtze region, the natural population of the Yangtze finless porpoise (YFP) has been experiencing a drastic decline in the past few decades. Various conservation activities have been implemented to prevent the YFP from suffering the same fate as the baiji. Signifi cant progress has been made recently, including natural habitat restoration, increasing the ex-situ population, and captive breeding success. Although there is a glimmer of hope, there are still some scientific and technical issues that need to be addressed to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the program through integrative planning for the whole conservation practice, which may include: 1) managing the ex-situ reserves as metapopulations; 2) replanning and managing the natural reserves and key habitats; 3) further improving research on the conservation biology of small cetaceans; 4) further encouraging public involvement. In general, this paper aims to review the implemented measures and recent progress achieved for the conservation of the critically endangered YFP and addresses the existing questions for further conservation practice of this species. Furthermore, we hope that this work will shed light on the conservation of other endangered small cetaceans in the world.