A white dolphin in Guangzhou swims in a tributary of the Pearl River in Jiangmen, Guangdong province. [Photo: Xinhua]
An endangered Chinese white dolphin died Friday night, 10 days after mistakenly swimming up a freshwater river in south China's Guangdong Province.
Wildlife experts attempting to rescue the dolphin, which is under top protection in China, said its health had deteriorated noticeably over the 10 days.
The white dolphin died Friday night, 10 days after mistakenly swimming up a freshwater river in south China's Guangdong Province. [Photo: Xinhua]
The skin of the white dolphin started to ulcerate as it had been exposed to freshwater for too long. The dolphin eventually died Friday night. [Photo: Xinhua]
The mature dolphin, which was estimated to be around 30 years old, swam into the Baisha River, a tributary of the Pearl River in Jiangmen, on Feb. 1.
It is thought that the dolphin may have been suffering navigation issues due to its age.
"Chinese white dolphins are social animals, so elderly individuals can easily get lost if they have navigation or hearing problems," said Fang Liang, a researcher with the School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University.
The Chinese white dolphin, about 30 years old, equivalent to 70 human years, swam into the Baisha River, a tributary of the Pearl River in Jiangmen, Guangdong province Feb 1. The animal is in a stretch about 100 km from the river's estuary. The species is under China's top protection list. [Photo: Xinhua]
An autopsy will be arranged by the local nature reserve administration.
Each year, Guangdong reports two to three cases of senior white dolphins mistakenly entering freshwater rivers.
Chinese white dolphins can be found in just a handful of coastal areas and then only in small numbers. There are about 2,000 at the mouth of the Pearl River.
A rescue team comprising personnel from a local nature reserve and fishery authorities have attempted several times to drive the creature back to the sea without success. The dolphin has repeatedly swam back into the river due to weakening bodily functions. [Photo: Xinhua]