14 animals declared extinct in the 21st century

In spite of US and international legislation, humans continues to cause extinctions of species worldwide.

10. Yangtze River Dolphin (Baiji Dolphin), Lipotes vexillifer, 2008

Vincent Yu/AP/File
A Chinese Yangtze river dolphin jumps out of the water off of Hong Kong, Sept. 15, 2000.

The IUCN listed the baiji as critically endangered in 2008, naming it “the most threatened cetacean in the world,” and experts believe the baiji is now extinct.

In the 20th century, this species was identified in a number of Chinese rivers, but by the turn of the 21st century, the baiji lived only in the Yangtze.

The last documented sighting of a Yangtze river dolphin was in 2002. By 2006, extensive studies using a hydrophone to listen for the dolphin’s whistles failed to find a single dolphin in the Yangtze.

Many factors contributed to the baiji’s decline. Electric fishing, which is strictly banned but is still widely practiced in the Yangtze, killed many dolphins and their food supply. Dams prevented their movement upstream and blocked tributaries, depleting fish supplies. Pollution, in the form of 16 billion cubic meters of wastewater discharged into the river annually, also played a role.

10 of 14

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.