Researchers in China are growing increasingly concerned about levels of pollution threatening the survival of Chinese white dolphins. Marine biologists at the Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in southern China’s Guangdong province claim that the species will drop by 74% in the next 60 years because of the amount of heavy metals, such as mercury and lead, found in the Pearl River Delta, south of China’s east coast. These pollutants cause damage to the dolphins nervous system and immune system, and are increasing the chances of the Chinese white dolphin becoming extinct.
The pollution stems from insecticide and fertilizers used in the area, leading to calls for the Chinese authorities to improve the water quality in south China’s Pearl river estuary to ensure the species’ survival.
Chinese white dolphins, also known as Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, are coastal animals that can venturing quite far landward into estuaries and mangroves.