Monday 26 September 2016
At 2:00 p.m. on 26 September, newly-crowned singles World No.1 Angelique Kerber visited the Yangtze dolphin aquarium, breeding centre for the endangered Yangtze River dolphin and home of the Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB), part of the Chinese Academy of Science. Kerber played with baby dolphins and took group photos with researchers against the background wall of Yangtze dolphins.
Kerber comes to Wuhan after an outstanding season which saw her win two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and US Open and reach three consecutive Grand Slam singles finals (including Wimbledon) and ascend to No.1 in the world rankings.
She arrived in Wuhan on Sunday and looked delighted to take a break from training and meet these charming creatures. Kerber learned about work of the scientific research base from Jingdong Zhao, the director of IHB before going poolside to play with the baby dolphins.
The Yangtze River dolphin is a virtually extinct species of freshwater dolphin formerly found only in the Yangtze River, which runs through Wuhan. Those at the Yangtze dolphin aquarium are the only group being bred in captivity in the world. In recent years, human activities have affected the ecology of the Yangtze River, leading to the decline of their population. According to the latest IHB report，the number of Yangtze River dolphins is probably less than 1000. To protect them, China's Ministry of Agriculture announced that they should be treated as First Class National Protected Animals in 2013.