Number of rare dolphins on the rise in China

The population of endangered Chinese white dolphins has increased in the last five years in the country as its total number now stands at 2,060, authorities said on Wednesday.

A September 15, 2000 picture shows a Chinese white dolphin jumps out of the water off of Hong Kong. The population of these endangered dolphins has increased in the last five years in China as its total number now stands at 2,060.

There are now 2,060 endangered Chinese white dolphins living near an estuary of the Pearl River, marine authorities said.

Definitely, an increase

A Chinese white dolphin monitoring expedition in 2015 found that the population had increased from the 1,500 recorded in 2011, He Shaoqing, deputy chief of Guangdong provincial maritime and fishery bureau said.

The bureau issued a release on the marine environment of the province for 2015, which coincided with World Oceans Day. He said the dolphin monitoring team had recorded 378 dolphin groups totalling 2,416, 2,060 were Chinese white dolphins, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

First-class protected animal

Chinese white dolphins, which are a first-class protected animal, are found along a few coastal areas in the country.

The dolphins have a low reproduction rate and high habitat requirements.

Female dolphins only give birth every three years, and the calves have only a 20 per cent chance of survival, according to experts. He said the ocean water quality near the coast of Guangdong Province is “basically good” but he warned excessive pollutants from five drainage rivers, of 12 in total, have been detected.

Pollution control still a challenge

“Pollution control is still challenging,” he said.