Taiwan pink dolphin: photo courtesy of FormosaCetus Research & Conservation Group.
The Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, a member of the Matsu's Fish Conservation Union (MFCU) has launched a drive to raise funds to purchase 800 hectares of Dacheng wetland on the Chunghua County coast in an effort to help save this extremely important coastal habitat. The wetlands are vitally important for the survival of the critically endangered Taiwan pink dolphins and also several threatened bird species and marine life. The Dacheng [also spelt Tacheng] wetlands are also listed internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International/IUCN. Dacheng is a very important wintering area for the vulnerable Saunders's Gull (Larus saundersi).
Although Dacheng wetlands on the northern edge of the mouth of Jhuoshuei River are listed as an internationally Important Bird Area [IBA: TW-016] and is well known as an extremely important habitat for the unique Taiwan pink dolphins and many endangered fish and bird species, Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co. plans to build oil refineries in the area.
Mudflats at the Dacheng wetlands. These mudflats and estuarine waters are critical to the survival of the Taiwan pink dolphins and hosts of other wildlife.
In a previous drive 50,000 people signed up to purchase 200 hectares of Dacheng coastal wetlands in an attempt to block the construction of a petrochemical plant in the wetland area. Yesterday, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union announced the beginning of the second phase of the project; to purchase another 800 hectares.
Environmental groups are still in the process of registering to create a trust fund. However, there are concerns that the government with its openly pro Kuokuang Petrochemical stance may well attempt to scuttle efforts to register the trust fund. The Kuokuang project is part of the 4th-phase-expansion of the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP). Last month the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled that construction work at the CTSP's Phase-4 zone in Erlin, Changhua County, had to be stopped until further environmental impact assessments were conducted and approved but the government has defied the ruling of the courts and allowed work to continue.
For more see Activists look to buy another 800 hectares of wetlands in today's Taipei Times.
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