The History of the Baiji

There is a legend behind the Baiji. A beautiful princess was thrown into the Yangtze River by her father because she refused to marry a wealthy man she did not love. It was his intention that she drown rather than to "bring shame upon the family." However, some god or perhaps the river itself took pity on her, and turned her into a dolphin. But more recently, this god has turned his back on poor Princess Baiji. For centuries, she lived in peace. She is completely blind, and relies completely on her sense of hearing. In the dark, merky waters that fill most of the Yangtze River in China, the Baiji is dying. The propellers of ships confuse her, and she swims into them and to her death. In the quiet of the Three Gourges, where there are no motors on the boats, the dolphins still live and flourish. This is an endangered species, and it can only live in the flowing waters of the Yangtze. After the dam is built, the hum of hydroelectric power will make her feel like a deaf man in a discotech, and the change of the water's movement will make her food supply all but disappear. The world would be a much sadder place without Princess Baiji. This is yet another reason I am against the building of the Three Gourges Dam.

See what popular science fiction writerDouglas Adams said on the subject in his book, Last Chance To See.