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  Channel NewsAsia 20 Dec 05
China to set up breeding base for rare dolphin

BEIJING : China will set up its first artificial breeding base for the highly endangered Chinese white dolphin in the southeastern province of Fujian.

The city of Xiamen in Fujian will set aside an area on its coast for the rare dolphins to live and reproduce, and the protected area will be modelled after dolphin breeding bases in Singapore and Thailand, the Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

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, Xinhua said.

It is also one of the most endangered species in the world. According to official records, there are only about 1,000 white dolphins in south China's Pearl River estuary and more than 100 in the coastal areas of Xiamen, Xinhua said.

In 1999, southern China's Guangdong province set aside 460 square kilometres of water in the South China Sea as a nature reserve for the dolphins, but it was not a special area for breeding. - AFP/de

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