China: Cash reward for rescuing Yangtze finless porpoises

Yangtze finless porpoises in captivity A Yangtze finless porpoise and her newborn swim in captivity

People who save a rare freshwater mammal found only in China's Yangtze River basin can claim a cash prize from the local fisheries bureau, it appears.

Reporting that a Yangtze finless porpoise has been injured or is at risk - and helping save the animal before officials arrive - could be rewarded with 300 yuan ($48, £29), the People's Daily newspaper says. A smaller reward of 100 yuan could be given to residents who report the death of a porpoise, or supply tips.

It is thought only about 1,000 of these freshwater animals remain in the wild. About half the population lives in Poyang Lake, which supplies the Yangtze River. The population has seen a dramatic crash recently, falling by nearly 14% each year since 2006, according to an official report from 2013.

Experts say pollution and low water levels are harming the fragile species. Poyang Lake used to be China's largest freshwater lake, but the construction of a dam and recent droughts have reportedly reduced its size by nearly 95%.

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