A plan to build a nature reserve for freshwater dolphins, including one of the rarest dolphins in the world, has passed technical evaluation.
According to the plan, put forward by the Zhenjiang municipal government and Jiangsu Provincial Marine and Fisheries Administration, the reserve will be located in the Zhenjiang section of the Yangtze River, the world's third-longest.
The reserve will cover 43.4 square km. It will be built in an area where the water flows slowly and part of the reserve is backwater zone with sufficient natural foodstuffs and little human activity.
White-flag dolphins and other dolphins have been found from time to time in the area of the planned reserve.
The white-flag dolphin, described by experts as a "living fossil" and native to China, has been listed by the Chinese government as one of the most endangered species in the country. Experts believe that its total population is less than 100.
Local officials said the planned reserve will be good for protecting the freshwater species and conducive to the research and protection of the diversity of aquatic wildlife.
Earlier this year, the government of neighboring Anhui Province established the country's first reserve for Yangtze River white-flag dolphins, in Tongling.
(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2001)