China mourns fish sci­en­tists say is ex­tinct

Orlando Sentinel - - NATION & WORLD - By Yanan Wang

BEI­JING — The Chi­nese pad­dle­fish’s sharp, pro­trud­ing snout made it one of the largest fresh­wa­ter species in the world. Since sci­en­tists de­clared it ex­tinct in a research pa­per pub­lished this month, Chi­nese in­ter­net users and me­dia out­lets have been pay­ing trib­ute to the hefty crea­ture.

“It’s farewell at first sight,” said China Youth Daily, not­ing that many were lamentably un­fa­mil­iar with the pad­dle­fish be­fore learn­ing of its demise. Users shared sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments on the Twit­ter-like

Weibo plat­form.

So named for its dis­tinc­tive shape, the Chi­nese pad­dle­fish, or Chi­nese sword­fish, had a lin­eage dat­ing back at least 34 mil­lion years, sci­en­tists be­lieve.

It could grow as long as 23 feet, but in the end, it couldn’t sur­vive the over­fish­ing, habi­tat frag­men­ta­tion and loss of bio­di­ver­sity in its na­tive Yangtze River, ac­cord­ing to a research pa­per in the Science of The To­tal En­vi­ron­ment, a peer­re­viewed en­vi­ron­men­tal science jour­nal.

“As no in­di­vid­u­als ex­ist in cap­tiv­ity, and no liv­ing tis­sues are con­served for po­ten­tial res­ur­rec­tion, the fish should be con­sid­ered ex­tinct,” the pa­per said, point­ing to cri­te­ria for in­clu­sion on the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture’s Red List.

MU­SEUM OF HY­DRO­BI­O­LOG­I­CAL SCIENCE OF THE CHI­NESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/AP

A Chi­nese pad­dle­fish spec­i­men made in 1990 is seen on dis­play at the Mu­seum of Hy­dro­bi­o­log­i­cal Science of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, China.

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