Marine mammals threatened worldwide

by    DiveSSI    1st December 2019
H Porpoise Spyhop_1015_Charlie Phillips_klein
Common Porpoise (c) Charlie Phillips
Neophocaena_phocaenoides_DSC_03_klein
Porpoise (c) 냥이 / Wikimedia

World Wildlife Conservation Day on December 4, 2019

On the
occasion of the World Wildlife Conservation Day on December 4, 2019,
the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Organization (WDC) calls for the less
known endangered species not to be forgotten. This includes, for
example, the finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) in Asia.

Finless
porpoises are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. At the
beginning of 2019, a living animal was offered for sale on a market in
China, although the trade in China is strictly prohibited.

The
roughly 1.70-meter-tall porpoise caught the eyes of animal welfare
activists, who heard his desperate cries at the Xuwen market. A dealer
offered the meat of the endangered animal for the equivalent of 2.60
euros per kilo for sale. The animal was probably caught in the Pearl
River in Guangdong province, China. Those whales live in shallow waters
with a sandy bottom, such as in estuaries, bays or mangrove forests.

"This
incident shows how endangered species are not only carelessly treated,
but also marketed for human consumption. Dolphins are still hunted and
consumed in more than 60 countries around the world even though it is
usually prohibited by law. The controls are too lax or simply
non-existent," says Fabian Ritter, marine protection expert at WDC.

The
Chinese helpers offered to buy the animal for about 23 euros and then
brought the whale back into the sea. Whether he has survived the rescue
operation is unclear. An estimated 200 animals of this species still
live in the region where the whale was caught. The finless porpoise is
threatened by shipping, fishing, chemical and acoustic pollution,
construction projects as well as hunting and live capture for exhibition
purposes.

But even in Germany there are endangered populations
of porpoise that must not be forgotten. This includes the harbor
porpoise in the central Baltic Sea, which is also threatened with
extinction by fisheries and marine pollution. The population consists of
only a few hundred animals. (See news article from November 2019).

"It's
always convenient to point your finger at other countries when it comes
to wildlife conservation. But only a few are aware that the situation
is not much better here. There are countless species in Germany that are
under serious threat," continued Ritter.

WDC has been supporting
the local harbor porpoise for many years and is calling for, among
other things, effective marine protected areas, the reduction of noise
in the sea, and stricter regulation of fisheries, which is responsible
for the precarious condition of harbor porpoises in the North and Baltic
Seas.

Written by
DiveSSI
Date
1st December 2019
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