Below is a copy of the letter sent by ETSSTAWG Chair, Dr Peter S. Ross, to Minister Chen Wu-hsiung. Our thanks to ETSSTAWG for allowing us to post their letter on the Taiwan Humpback Dolphin blog.
Minister Mr. Chen Wu-hsiung
Council of Agriculture
Sept 27 2009
Dear Minister Chen Wu-hsiung:
I recently learned of the death of one individual member of the IUCN-designated Critically Endangered population of Eastern Taiwan Strait Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Taiwan. This individual was found on the shore adjacent to the important habitat of this very small population, which numbers fewer than 100 individuals.
While a single mortality in this population is most unfortunate, it is of the utmost importance that open scientific investigation be encouraged on this individual. In recent years, two major research groups in Taiwan (Formosacetus and Taiwan Cetacean Society), both with strong ambitions, and excellent capacity, have been conducting research on free-ranging members of ETS Sousa. As Chairman of the Eastern Taiwan Strait Technical Advisory Sousa Working Group (ETSSTAWG), I am mandated to encourage dialogue on the best possible science in support of a better understanding of Sousa and its habitat. Without excellent scientific research, and open communication among all parties, the chances of survival for the ETS Sousa population are greatly reduced.
There are many scientific investigations that can be carried out on a stranded (deceased) individual to determine the cause of death, as well as to provide insight into the remaining (living) members of this unique population. Some investigations that can be carried out include:
- Gross pathology;
- Disease investigations;
- Reproductive status;
- Toxicology (contaminants);
- Basic biology;
The ETS Sousa population deserves the best possible scientific investigations. The ETSSTAWG is monitoring the present situation with regard to this specimen, and will continue to advise and act on behalf of the ETS Sousa on behalf of the international scientific community.
The ETSSTAWG looks forward to learning more about the cause of death of this individual, and will look very favourably indeed upon improved dialogue among the many excellent research and other organizations active in the area of ETS Sousa biology and conservation.
Dr Peter S. Ross
Eastern Taiwan Strait Sousa Technical Advisory Working Group
*A similar letter has also been received from Dolphin Care UK.
Taiwan Humpback Dolphin Beaches and Dies on the Coast of Tonghsiao
Update: Taiwan Humpback Dolphin Beaches and Dies on the Coast of Tonghsiao