fish species that survived at least 150 million years on this earth has finally been done in by man.
The giant Chinese paddlefish, also known as the Chinese swordfish has been officially declared extinct. Once found swimming around in the Yangtze River, the paddlefish hasn’t been sighted since 2003. There are also none in captivity.
A study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment estimates that the last paddlefish likely died out between 2005 and 2010. Co-author Wei Qiwei of the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute called it a “reprehensible and irreparable loss.”
The paddlefish was deemed critically endangered and functionally extinct back in 1993 as a result of overfishing and habitat fragmentation. In 1981, the Gezhouba Dam was built on the Yangtze in Hubei province, dividing up the fish’s population and further limiting already limited mating opportunities.
The Chinese paddlefish was once one of the world’s largest freshwater species of fish with lengths of up to 7 meters (23 feet). The animal gained a number of nicknames, including “elephant fish” (because of its long snout) and the “giant panda of the river” (because of endangered status).