Thursday, August 14, 2008

Critically Endangered - It's Official !

Yes, it's official! The Eastern Taiwan Strait population of humpback dolphin has been officially classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the Cetacean update of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recognised the overwhelming threat to these animals and have classified them as Critically Endangered, the highest category of threat-level on the Red List for wild animals before becoming extinct.

What this means is that unless drastic steps are taken to protect this species, they will go extinct. The reduced flow of freshwater into the humpback dolphins estuarine habitat resulting from the Hushan Dam Project is seen as a major threat to these unique dolphins.

The IUCN refers to the Taiwan humpback dolphins as the Eastern Taiwan Strait humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis and classifies them as a sub-population.

There can be no doubt now over the threat these dolphins face and the need for something drastic to be done to save these unique animals and pull them back from the brink of extinction. The time has come for the Taiwan government to stop dodging the issue of meaningfully protecting these dolphins and to do something concrete to save them. The writing is on the wall now and any failure of the authorities to act will be nothing short of signing the death warrant of this unique population of Taiwanese dolphin.

Our appreciation to the Cetacean Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission for their work in this and our thanks to all at the MFCU and our supporters who have helped bring this about both here in Taiwan and abroad. We eagerly await the government's response to this and trust that they will make a genuine meaningful effort in saving these unique and rare citizens of Taiwan.

Also see:
Press Release: Taiwan’s unique population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins is on the brink of extinction

Matsu’s Fish seizes “Critically Endangered” title, winning international glory for Taiwan

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