Marine authorities have claimed that there are now 2060 Chinese white dolphins living near a Pearl River estuary. After monitoring the population for several years experts have seen their numbers rise from 1500 in 2011.
Chinese white dolphins are a protected species found in several coastal areas of China, as well as around South East Asia and Northern Australia. They were first discovered in 1637 by a British adventurer in what is today Hong Kong.
Chinese white dolphins are born black before turning grey and eventually white or pink as they get older. The ones seen in the region around the Pearl River usually have a pinkish tinge. They can grow up to 3.5m long and live for forty years.
Female Chinese white dolphins are able to have calves just once every three years. Experts also claim the calves have just a 20% survival rate.
Over-fishing and maritime traffic, as well as large building projects, have been listed as threats to the dolphins' habitat. Occasionally the dolphins have been known to swim up river, with one making it as far as Guangzhou's Fangcun ferry terminal last year. Drawing crowds of onlookers, he was nicknamed "Dabei" by fans from the Chinese name for the white robot known as Baymax in the English version of Big Hero Six.
Dabei the dolphin reached Fangcun while this little fellow was spotted in Foshan.
Measures are in place to protect the dolphins including preventing ships from passing through their reserve, regular patrols to monitor the populations and rescue teams on hand in case of trouble.
The Guangdong Provincial Maritime and Fishery Bureau said that while "pollution control is still challenging" the water quality near the coast of Guangdong is "basically good".
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