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Smiling at danger, finless porpoise fights to survive

In an oxbow lake along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, a breathy sigh pierces the surface stillness as one of China‚Äôs most endangered animals comes up for a gulp of hazy air. A slick black back with no dorsal fin arches briefly above the water line before plunging back down. Such glimpses of the shy Yangtze finless porpoise, the only aquatic mammal left in China's longest river and known in Chinese as the "smiling angel" for its perma-grin, are increasingly rare. Pollution, overfishing, hydroelectric dams…

Unfit for porpoise: Naughty dolphin causes French beach ban

RENNES, France: A love-lorn dolphin has prompted a French coastal town to ban bathing on its beaches, fearing people may be hurt by the antics of the over-excited mammal. Roger Lars, mayor of Landevennec, on the western tip of Brittany, issued a ban on voluntarily approaching within 50 metres (yards) of the dolphin and outlawed bathing and diving from the district's beaches whenever the animal is spotted in local waters. The move was made on the basis of advice from marine specialists after the visibly excited…