Pollution in the Yangtze River threatens the Chinese sturgeon

China - The Chinese sturgeon, which survives for more than 140 million years, is one of the most protected animals in China. But researchers say that the country's chemical pollution of the Yangtze River could be the cause of malformations and the decline of sturgeon populations.

In the article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists explain that they have found in the Yangtze young sturgeons to the skeleton with a deformed or missing eyes. They bring into question the triphenyltin, a chemical commonly used in industry or agriculture as a fungicide, which pollute this river.

For the study, scientists have taken sturgeon 2 or 3 days in an area of 40 km downstream the Three Gorges dam. They brought the fish in a laboratory of Jingzhou in Hubei province for analysis. 6.3% would have hatched with deformities and in 1.2% of cases, missing an eye, or both, to the animal.

In the past, scientists thought that the restriction of their habitat due to dam construction on the Yangtze (46 dams already built or planned) caused the decline of sturgeon populations. In 2005, according to Wang Xihu, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, research had shown that the dam, rather than fishing or pollution, were the cause of the decline of fisheries resources.

But the new study shows that pollution has a significant impact and affects the survival of sturgeon. And these are not the only ones in danger because of dams and pollution of the Yangtze: for years, experts point out that other species such as the Yangtze dolphin, the porpoise wingless, and the alligator would be threatened by the Three Gorges Dam.

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