UNSUSTAINABLE SAND MINING IN CHINA THREATENS A CRITICALLY-ENDANGERED CETATION

by Larry Powell

The Yangtze finless porpoise feeds in Poyang Lake, where sand is heavily mined. 
Photo by Huigong Yu.

A long-term assessment of theYangtze finless porpoise in a heavily mined lake in China, has made some disturbing discoveries.



Sand mining boats, similar to those in Poyang Lake.
Photo by Zhigang Mei.

In only a decade, the mining has significantly restricted the porpoise’s habitat, compromised its population connectivity, and destroyed its nearshore habitats.
                                             

The researchers hope their findings will promote government accountability and raise general awareness of the plight of the animal.

Two porpoises leap from the water.
Photo by Huigong Yu.

Sand has for some time been second only to water as the planet's most heavily extracted resource, with huge implications for habitat and biodiversity health.

The findings of the research team from the Chinese Academy of Science are now published in the proceedings of the Royal Society. 

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