Whale pod found living near shore in south China
NANNING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have confirmed that a pod of large whales spotted off the coast of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is the first found living near shore of the country's mainland.
The finding was announced on Thursday at a press conference held by the city government of Beihai after a month-long joint survey at sea.
Since March, residents and tourists on Weizhou Island in the Beibu Gulf have seen whales on multiple occasions, The whales were later identified as a pod of Bryde's whales, with the largest 12 meters long.
With its vast coastline, a great number of whales live in the seas surrounding China, the majority of which live far from the shore, said Chen Bingyao, associate professor of life sciences at Nanjing Normal University. "Scientific records of large whales living near the shore are rare."
Drones developed and manufactured by the researchers are surveying the waters around the island to estimate the population of the group.
The waters where the whale pod have been spotted have few fishing boats and are abundant with a type of fish that is the preferred prey of the Bryde's whale.
Whales are a barometer of the health of the marine ecosystem, Chen said.
Training on protection of whales has been provided to residents from all walks of life on Weizhou Island.
The Beihai government plans to establish a protection zone for whales and build a monitoring station on nearby Xieyang Island