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Chinese City to Set Up Breeding Base of Rare Dolphin; 'Pandas of the Ocean'

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XIAMEN, China -- Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province is planning to set up an artificial breeding base of the Chinese white dolphin to further protect the rare species.

The city will set aside a sea area for Chinese white dolphins to live and breed, after drawing on experiences from Singapore and Thailand, said Zheng Maoshi, deputy director of the municipal bureau of fishery.

It will be the first artificial breeding base of the Chinese White Dolphin in China.

An international seminar will be held in Xiamen, with biologists from countries including the United States and Italy in attendance, to discuss the protection of Chinese white dolphins, according to Zheng.

Local authorities have designated a protected sea area where white dolphins live and drive them to safe areas if anything threatens them.

In the breeding base to be built, where dolphins will live, scientists will help them to produce offspring there.

Sometimes called "the pandas of the ocean" for their rarity, the Chinese White Dolphin is a species unique to China and high on China's most-protected animal list. It is also the most endangered dolphin species in the world.

Records show that there are only about 1,000 white dolphins at the Pearl River Estuary and over 100 in the coastal areas of Xiamen.

In 1999, south China's Guangdong Province set aside 460 square km of water area in the South China Sea as a nature reserve for the dolphins. Enditem


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