ETS Humpback Dolphins in Taichung Waters (with movie clips)

Some of Taiwan's critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins were filmed yesterday in coastal waters near a coal-fired power plant which has been ranked first in the world for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

ETS humpback dolphin habitat (dark grey)

The Eastern Taiwan Strait (ETS, or western Taiwan) humpback dolphins were filmed north of the Taichung Thermal Power Plant on the coast of Taichung County, central Taiwan. This area belongs to the northern half of the dolphins' narrow coastal habitat, which stretches from Tainan County in the south to the Miaoli-Hsinchu County line in the north.

Humpback dolphins north of Taichung power plant, 16.3.09

The online database Carbon Monitoring for Action lists the plant number one in the world for CO2 emissions, which total nearly 30 million tons a year.

Also along the coast adjacent to the population's habitat are the Mailiao (Formosa Plastics) Power Plant and the Changgong Power Plant. Mailiao is listed as the fifth largest CO2 emitting coal-fired power plant in the world and Changgong looks set to join the leaders.

National Taiwan University climatologist Hsu Kuang-Jung said at a press conference in late 2008 that "if expansion plans go ahead Changgong will be awarded fourth place".

Among the five major threats to the dolphins, which are now estimated to number less than 100, is the pollution of air and water from the countless factories, farms, cities and power plants along this intensively industrialised coast.