Mar Mam Sci (2014)

DOI: 10.1111/mms.12181


Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake in China and flows into the Yangtze River. It is a traditional habitat for the endangered Yangtze finless porpoise, which has not been well investigated. To reveal the distribution of the porpoise in Poyang Lake, 12 passive acoustic surveys were conducted along 123 km of the main channel of the lake during different seasons (spring transition season, wet season, autumn transition season, and dry season) from 2008 to 2012. We counted the number of phonating porpoises encountered and calculated the detection rate (encountered individuals detected per kilometer). The median porpoise detection rates ranged from 0 to 0.65 individuals per kilometer during the different surveys. The highest median detection rate of 0.50 was detected in the autumn transition season. The seasonal shrinking of the lake during the dry season may cause a concentration of porpoises in the narrow channels and a high incidence of collisions with cargo ships and fishing boats. Conservation actions should be focused on the main channel of the lake during the dry and transition seasons. In addition, the expansion of the existing reserve to include areas with high porpoise detection rates is necessary.