April 9, 2006

China to establish reserve for rare white dolphin

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to set up its first reserve
for the endangered white dolphin off the coast of the southern
city of Zhuhai in the southern Guangdong province, the official
Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

The city has allocated 460 sq km (178 square miles) for the
reserve, to be located near Qiao Island in the Pearl River
estuary, Xinhua quoted Chen Jialin, director of the reserve, as

Construction on the reserve will begin this year and will
focus first on establishing an emergency rescue center for the
dolphins, Chen said.

Xinhua quoted him as saying the dolphins, unique to China,
number only 2,000, more than half of which live in the Pearl
River estuary.

Chen said pollution from paper mills, chemical plants and
plating factories along the river had been destroying the
dolphins' habitat, leading to the deaths of nearly 20 dolphins
in the past three years.