The exhibit showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Yangtze River

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Li Qian / SHINE

The skull of a Tibetan antelope is on display at an exhibition at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

The exhibit showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Yangtze River

Li Qian / SHINE

A model of Chinese paddlefish, a species of giant fish that was declared extinct in 2019.

An exhibition showcasing the diversity of the Yangtze River ecosystem and aimed at raising public awareness of environmental protection opened at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum on Tuesday.

The Yangtze River, the third longest in the world, stretches 6,418 kilometers from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the East China Sea with an estuary in Shanghai. The Yangtze River basin covers 1.8 million square kilometers, or about one-fifth of the country’s total land area, and is home to nearly 450 million people, or about 35% of the country’s total population.

The basin has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, as the river flows through mountains, forests and plains.

The exhibit features 42 endangered animal specimens living in the basin, including the giant panda, golden monkey, and Tibetan antelope, as well as 58 agricultural specimens, such as ginkgo, cherry and wax berry. .

The exhibit showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Yangtze River

Li Qian / SHINE

Water samples collected from 11 places crossed by the Yangtze River are hung like beautiful decorations.

The exhibit showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Yangtze River

Li Qian / SHINE

The exhibit features 42 endangered animal specimens living in the Yangtze River Basin.

Highlights include models of two giant fish native to the river – one of the Chinese sturgeon, a critically endangered species, and the other of the Chinese paddlefish, an extinct species.

A Chinese sturgeon can be up to five meters long and weigh over 500 kilograms. Before the construction of the Gezhou Dam about half a century ago in Yichang, Hubei Province, there were more than 10 spawning grounds for Chinese sturgeon. Once completed, the dam subsequently blocked the channel for the migration of adult sturgeons to the spawning grounds upstream. From the 1980s to 2017, the number of Chinese sturgeons increased from 1,495 to around 20.

Although compared to the Chinese paddlefish, it is lucky. For the same reason, the number of Chinese spatulas, which can reach seven meters in length and 900 kilograms, has gradually fallen. The last living Chinese paddlefish were spotted in 2003. And the species was declared extinct in 2019.

In addition, the exhibition features 42 water samples taken from 11 locations crossed by the Yangtze River, including Chongming District in Shanghai, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province and Wuhan, capital of Hubei.

The exhibition will run until May 2022 on the B1 floor of the 2000 Century Avenue Museum in Pudong New District.


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