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National Protection Base for Rare Dolphin to Be Built
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China will set up its first reserve for the highly endangered Chinese white dolphin off the coast of Zhuhai, a city in Guangdong Province.


The city has set aside 460 square kilometers for the reserve in Guandi bay at Qi'ao Island and will start construction before the end of this year, said Chen Jialin, director of the administration of the state-level Chinese White Dolphin Natural Reserve at Pear River Estuary.


He said an emergency rescue center for the dolphins, also called "pandas in the ocean" for their rarity, will be built during the initial construction period.


The Chinese white dolphin is a species unique to China and high on China's most-protected animal list. It is also one of the most endangered species in the world.


The dolphins' population is around 2,000 in China, over 1,000 of which are living in Pearl River Estuary, said Chen.


"Pollutants discharged into the water by paper mills, chemical plants and plating factories along the river has been destroying the dolphins' habitat and as a result, 19 dolphins has been died over the past three years," said Chen.


(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2006)

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