Thousands of species of plants live along the banks of the Yangtze River. The golden arch, a rare species of tree, grows in the Yangtze River valley.
Its coin-shaped leaves are green in spring and summer and turn yellow in autumn. Bamboo, magnolia, and gingko trees also grow within the basin. A number of different types of algae live in the river, providing food for many species of fish.
The Yangtze River dolphin, a type of dolphin that dates back 20 million years, may have died out completely in 2006, according to scientists.
People grow food crops in the rich soil of the river basin. Major crops include rice, wheat, corn, barley, sweet potatoes, and legumes.
Salamanders, soft-shell turtles, frogs, birds, and other animals live near the river. Otters swim in the water, hunting for fish. Hundreds of species of fish, including carp, catfish, Chinese sturgeon, and Chinese paddlefish, swim
in the Yangtze River and its tributaries. Sturgeon can grow to be 16 feet (five m) long. The central Yangtze River is an important habitat for migratory birds, including almost the entire wintering Siberian white crane population.
A symbol of strength and perseverance in China, the Chinese alligator has become rare in the Yangtze River. Scientists breed the alligators in captivity to help prevent the species from becoming extinct.
The Yangtze River dolphin, however, is believed to have become extinct in 2006. In the late 1980s, the population of river dolphins was about 400, but by the mid-1990s the number had dropped to fewer than 100. Scientists say overfishing, which leaves the dolphins without a food source, as well as dams, ship traffic, and pollution are to blame. Dams affected the river dolphins’ habitat and interrupted their movements upstream.
Scientists are working to save the Yangtze River finless porpoise from the same fate. Fewer than 400 finless porpoises may remain in the river.
Witchcraft Trials in Other Colonies Although the widespread agitation that encompassed the colony of Massachusetts generally resulted in the demise of accusations of witchcraft, during this same time period other colonies remained susceptible to similar charges being leveled against its settlers. Shanghai Map This was particularly true in Connecticut; however, charges of witchcraft were not new in the colony. In the 1659s, at least two women were executed after being convicted of being witches. In 1662, a supposed coven of witches was tried in Hartford; the result was the execution of four women and the fleeing of many who were associated with the convicted. During the 1692 Salem crises, several women were tried in Connecticut courts, although there were no executions as a result of the trials. Nearly ninety 90 percent of the witchcraft trials in the seventeenth century were held in one of the Northern colonies. In cases where executions occurred, 95 percent of such punishments were meted out in the Puritan communities of New England. Common beliefs about witchcraft and magic, however, resulted in the accusation of witches in the Southern colonies as well.
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