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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
China builds rare-dolphin reserve
China is to set up a sanctuary for the highly endangered white dolphin, a species unique to the country.

The reserve, on the southern coast of China, will include a rescue centre near the city of Zhuhai.

Pollution from factories, paper mills and chemical plants has destroyed much of the dolphins' habitat, the director of the project said.

Only around 2,000 white dolphins are thought to exist, with most living in the Pearl River estuary.

The reserve, in the eastern province of Fujian, will be about 178 square miles (460 square kilometres) with building to begin by the end of the year, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Some 19 white dolphins, also called "pandas in the ocean" because of their rarity, have died over the past three years as a result of pollutants, Chen Jialin, director of the Chinese White Dolphin Natural Reserve, said.

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