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 square kilometers (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 saying.
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.