China steps up protection of rare Yangtze River mammal

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A researcher uses a pair of binoculars to conduct monitoring work during a scientific expedition on Yangtze finless porpoises at the Shishou section of the Yangtze River, central China's Hubei province, Sept. 23, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has made progress in protecting Yangtze finless porpoises, an iconic species in the Yangtze River, the country's longest river, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said Monday.

A total of 13 natural reserves for the Yangtze finless porpoises have been established in the Yangtze River basin, covering 40 percent of the habitats of the species, Cui Shuhong, an official with the ministry, told a press conference.

These natural reserves have brought nearly 80 percent of the total population of the species under protection, Cui said.

The Yangtze finless porpoise, known as the "giant panda of the water," is a barometer of the ecological environment in the Yangtze River basin.

In recent years, China has put solid effort into ecological conservation along the Yangtze River, with a 10-year fishing ban launched in pivotal waters along the river at the beginning of 2021.

In December 2020, China promulgated the Yangtze River Protection Law, providing legal guarantee for biodiversity conservation in the river.

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