Chinese White Dolphin

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  Chinese White Dolphin The sleek, beaked Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is being stripped of its natural habitat by airport-related construction activity. Recent counts have detected only about 85 animals, down from a pre-project population of about 400.

The little-known mammals, first recorded by Europeans in the 18th century, have suffered from the loss of their feeding grounds, increased pollution from reclamation and dredging, and blasting operations. Explosives have been determined to cause severe organ damage or outright death in dolphins. The World-Wide Fund for Nature (Hong Kong) warned that blasting at Chek Lap Kok could cause a "serious, if not total decline, in the population." According to the Provisional Airport Authority, mitigation measures were taken. Prior to each explosion, the surrounding waters were searched for dolphins. If any were found, blasting was delayed.

In April 1995, Hong Kong designated a marine sanctuary for the remaining dolphins. Independent studies being conducted by the Swire Institute of Marine Science at the University of Hong Kong will shed light on the species and its prospects for survival.

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