HONG KONG (REUTERS) – The extinction of the Chinese Paddlefish and wild Yangtze Sturgeon, declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), unleashed a torrent of comments on China’s social media platforms on Friday (July 22) urging more environmental protection.

The IUCN’s latest list of threatened species, published on its website on Thursday, showed that 100 per cent of the world’s remaining 26 sturgeon species are now at risk of extinction, up from 85 per cent in 2009.

“The assessments are based on new calculations which show their decline over the past three generations to be steeper than previously thought,” the conservation group said, adding that the reassessment had also confirmed the extinction of the Chinese Paddlefish.

Both the Chinese Paddlefish and the Yangtze Sturgeon were common species in the Yangzte river basin which has been plagued by heavy shipping traffic, overfishing and water pollution.

The topic was one of the most discussed on China’s Weibo, a social media platform similar to Twitter, on Friday.

“A biological population that lived for 150 million years was actually made extinct by modern civilisation? I want to ask: where is our civilisation?” one user called Snow Mountain said.

The Chinese Paddlefish was one of the world’s biggest fresh water fish species and could grow up to 7 metres in length. The IUCN first declared it “critically endangered” in 1996.