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Activists form alliance to save dolphins

Activists form alliance to save dolphins

Activists from various environmental groups formed an alliance yesterday to save the Chinese white dolphin, saying the species is critically endangered.
The Taiwan Academy of Ecology, the Taiwan Sustainable Union, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, and a conservation and research team studying dolphins and whales established a union that will train volunteers beginning in February to prevent the extinction of the animals.
"It is estimated that there are fewer than 200 Chinese white dolphins in waters off Taiwan," said Yang Shih-chu, the leader of the conservation and research team.
Yang noted that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources will list the Chinese white dolphin as a "critically endangered" species next year.
A five-year study of Taiwan's Chinese white dolphins conducted by the team found evidence of the threat the species faces from humans. Of the 49 dolphins the team tracked in the Taiwan area, a third had scars and lacerations on their skin.
"The wounds are directly related to gill nets and human activity on the sea," she surmised.
Yang noted that the Chinese white dolphins, locally called "matsu fish" because they appear at about the time of local goddess Matsu's birthday in March, live along the west coast of Taiwan, with a habitat stretching from Miaoli to Chiayi.
That area, however, has grown increasingly hostile to the dolphins. Many governmental agencies and private enterprises have built large-scale reservoirs and power plants in Yunlin, Chiayi, and Changhua counties in recent years, putting the survival of the dolphins in jeopardy, Yang said. "The loss of the habitat and the water pollution has seriously influenced the dolphins' food supply," Yang contended.
She said that the dolphins are extremely shy, gentle and slow-moving. They have to be sure of the good intentions of humans before approaching and having fun around boats.
TEPU Secretary-General Ho Tsung-hsun said the union will train volunteers beginning in February in time for the dolphins' appearance in March, hopefully arousing awareness among local residents of the species' predicament. The environmental groups, whose group is named "Save Chinese White Dolphins," called on the government to face up to the crisis and prevent the dolphins' extinction.


Updated : 2021-04-12 03:36 GMT+08:00