Endangered white dolphin dies in China river

Beijing, Feb 11 (IANS) An endangered Chinese white dolphin died on Friday night, 10 days after mistakenly swimming up a freshwater river in China’s Guangdong province, the media reported.

Wildlife experts attempting to rescue the dolphin, which is under top protection in China, said its health had deteriorated noticeably over the 10 days, Xinhua news agency reported.

The mature dolphin, which was estimated to be around 30 years old, swam into the Baisha river, a tributary of the Pearl river in Jiangmen on February 1.

It is thought that the dolphin may have been suffering navigation issues due to its age.

“Chinese white dolphins are social animals, so elderly individuals can easily get lost if they have navigation or hearing problems,” said Fang Liang, a researcher with the School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University.

An autopsy will be arranged by the local nature reserve administration.

Each year, Guangdong reports two to three cases of senior white dolphins mistakenly entering freshwater rivers.

Chinese white dolphins can be found in just a handful of coastal areas and then only in small numbers. There are about 2,000 at the mouth of the Pearl river.

–IANS

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