Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pink Dolphin Population Tumbles off Taiwan

Pink Dolphin Population Tumbles off Taiwan TAIWAN: November 21, 2006TAIPEI - A dolphin that lives along the west coast of Taiwan is declining todangerously low numbers because of over-fishing and pollution, localenvironmental researchers said on Monday. The number of pink Pacific humpback dolphins had declined off Taiwan overthe past three years to an estimated 120, the Formosa Cetus Research andConservation Group and the Wild at Heart Legal Defence Association foundafter three years of study. Illegal fishing is netting dolphins for high-end meals in central Taiwan,the two groups suspect. They say untreated wastewater from a reservoir plushundreds of coastal factories are killing off small estuary fish that drawdolphins to the Taiwan coast. "The population is very small and therefore predisposed to being vulnerableto any form of exploitation -- direct, indirect, intentional orunintentional," said John Wang, co-founder of the conservation group. "Given the state of western Taiwan and the continuing destruction withlittle to no mitigation of existing serious threats, population size canonly decrease." Pink dolphins are also found in small populations off the coast of China,Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Hong Kong Dolphinwatch has been workingsince 1995 to increase the public awareness of their plight.

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