A new porpoise may have been identified recently. Click on the link to see the most adorable, beluga-ish creature who ever swam the seas (the most adorable, that is, since the beluga itself!). This animal, which prefers both salty seawater as well as freshwater, may be a subspecies of finless porpoise native to a specific area in the Chinese Yangtze River. The bad news is, it’s already endangered—too endangered for us to even try saving it, warn scientists; less than 1,000 of the creatures exist in the wild.
You always have to wonder at why animals face such grave numbers. In this case, the population of the creature is threatened by several factors—pollution, overfishing, and other activities by—you guessed it—humans.
What really gets me angry about things like this—aside from the fact that we’ve done this, we’re to blame, and we’re kind of powerless to fix our own mistakes—is that so many people claim that it’s just the “natural order” of things. Animal species, they argue, have been going extinct long before we got here, and they’ll continue to do so as long as animals exist.
Well, I agree on the latter point—and that goes for us humans, too. I fully believe that this planet will outlive us after we kill ourselves through some violent way or another. But the former point, while valid regarding “nature’s course,” is not the same as humans wasting resources in such a gross manner, day after day, leading to species decline. It’s actually quite a cop out to say, “Oh, it’s just nature,” when, in fact, it’s not nature, it’s humans and our greed.
When will we ever start living up to our own mistakes and start creating a more sustainable world? I wonder if our discovery of this porpoise will allow it to survive a bit longer at all—or if it will simply lead to its increased decline.