Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve
The Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve is an area of wetland in the Yangtze basin near Shishou, Hubei province, People's Republic of China. Inside the reserve is the Tian'e-Zhou lake which was an intended sanctuary for the Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin) and is currently holding 28 Finless Porpoises.
In 1988, the River Dolphin Research group in Wuhan proposed the idea of placing the rapidly declining baiji in the Tian'e-Zhou oxbow lake. The reserve was intended to hold any captured baiji, since it had a healthy population of fish and could sustain over 50 baiji if breeding was successful. The oxbow was connected to the Yangtze during the summer season when the water level was high, so nets were installed to ensure the baiji would not escape. Five finless porpoises were first introduced in 1990 to see if it was a suitable habitat. Many more trans-locations took place but many porpoises ended up dead or escaped the reserve during floods. Finally in 1995, an adult female baiji was caught and immediately transported the oxbow. After a few days she was seen swimming and feeding, but after the 1996 flood she was found dead entangled in the nets preventing her from leaving the reserve. Scientists studying her stomach contents show that there was very little food inside as a result of competition with other, more aggressive porpoises. She was the last baiji to ever live in the Tian'e-Zhou reserve.
- "Scientists Join Hands to Seek the Last Yangtze River Dolphin". WWF China. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- Samuel Turvey, Witness to Extinction. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- The baiji.org Foundation, Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Nature Reserve
- BBC News "Last chance for China's dolphin"
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