Caixin
Jul 21, 2018 12:53 PM
ENVIRONMENT

What Killed the Yangtze River?

Workers apply antiseptic to an injured finless porpoise in the Tian'ezhou conservation area in 2016. Finless porpoises’ thin skin makes them vulnerable to injury from hard objects. Photo: Tian’ezhou Nature Reserve
Workers apply antiseptic to an injured finless porpoise in the Tian'ezhou conservation area in 2016. Finless porpoises’ thin skin makes them vulnerable to injury from hard objects. Photo: Tian’ezhou Nature Reserve

The Yangtze River, Asia’s longest river, has been central to China’s economy and ecosystems for millennia. Stretching from the edge of the Tibet autonomous region to Shanghai on the country’s eastern coast, its meandering waters are fed by over a fifth of China’s land area.

For a long time, it was the source of much of China’s aquatic biodiversity, teeming with over 4,000 species and producing over 40% of the world’s freshwater fish supply.

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