Dolphin conservationists locked in seesaw struggle_Local—China Economic Net
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Dolphin conservationists locked in seesaw struggle
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-08-13 13:00

Dolphin conservationists have planned to bring freshwater porpoises in China's Yangtze River into a tributary of the Yangtze for protection of the endangered species. However, little progress has been made over the past four years as local authorities fear the plan might hold down local economy.

According to a plan jointly created in 2007 by the Fishing Bureau of the city of Anqing's Agricultural Commission, the World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Xijiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, will be designated as a reserve to accommodate relocated freshwater porpoises.

Estimated to number around 1,000 in total, the Yangtze River Dolphins have a 20-year lifespan and are listed as one of the world's 12 most endangered animals, said Yu Daoping, a professor with the Life Science Institute of the Anqing Normal School.

"If no effective moves are made to save them from environmental degradation caused by the construction of water conservancy projects and shipping routes, the species will go extinct within 15 years, " he warned.

Conservationists originally planned to bring the dolphins to the Xijiang River, which is under the jurisdiction of Haikou Township.

However, there has been virtually no progress made within the past four years, as the township refused to ratify the plan for fear that it might hamper the local economy, according to Zhou Jinyun, director of the Fishing Bureau of the city of Anqing's Agricultural Commission.

Wang Wenyou, executive deputy chief of Haikou Township, told Xinhua that the township government had planned to develop the waters and its surrounding regions into an ecological park.

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