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Chinese Sturgeon Is on the Brink of Extinction After 140 Million Years

Last year, the sturgeon didn’t reproduce at all in the wild

A dead Chinese sturgeon found in the Yangtze in 2007 (STRINGER SHANGHAI/Reuters/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

A new survey by the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences had a dire prognosis for the endangered Chinese Sturgeon, the Chinese news service Xinhua reports. It looks like the fish, which has been around for about 140 million years, is on the brink of extinction.  

Researchers found that last year, the sturgeon didn’t reproduce at all in the wild. The population of the giant fish (it can grow over nine feet and over 500 pounds) has decreased dramatically in the past few decades. According to the IUCN Red List, the number of fish fallen in the wild from 10,000 in 1970 to less than 300 in 2007. 

The fish have been threatened by numerous factors including dam building along the Yangtze and overfishing. Many other sturgeon species are also endangered by similar threats, including illegal caviar trade. Sturgeons can live for decades, but they don’t reproduce often. 

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