- 11 Jan 2020
- 2 min read
Why in news?
Recently, the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) has been declared extinct by Chinese scientists.
- It was last spotted in 2003.
- It was one of the largest freshwater fish.
- Habitats: Freshwater and estuaries.
- IUCN status: Critically Endangered (Although declared extinct by Chinese scientists but its IUCN status is Critically Endangered, which was last assessed in 2009).
- It was endemic to the Yangtze River (including brackish water of the mouth) in China. It was found in China only.
- Yangtze River has seen half of the unique species to its waters go extinct.
- It is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest river in the world and the longest river to flow entirely in one country.
- It rises in the northern part of the Tibetan Plateau and flows in a generally easterly direction to the East China Sea.
- Overfishing and habitat fragmentation and dam-building caused its population to dwindle from the 1970s onwards. The researchers estimate that it became functionally extinct by 1993.
- It is one of only two paddlefish species in existence.
- Second is the American paddlefish (IUCN Status: Vulnerable) species found in the Mississippi River Basin in the United States.
Criteria for Extinction
- The Red List criteria of the IUCN has several categories for extinction
- Critically Endangered: species faces a high probability of extinction.
- Extinct in the wild: means a species survives only in a captive environment.
- Locally extinct: ceased to exist in a particular area but may exist in other areas.
- Functionally extinct: continues to exist but it has too few members to reproduce meaningfully enough to ensure survival.
- Globally extinct: no surviving member anywhere. When there is no reasonable doubt left that its last member has died.
- Once declared extinct, a species is not eligible for protective measures and conservation funding.