Concern for the fate of the river dolphin is such that, in october 1986, a major workshop sponsored by many governmental, scientific and conservation organizations was held in China on their biology and conservation. This workshop recommended a number of possible options for these species' conservation, management, and future study; if applied successfully, these may hold out hope for the river dolphins' long-term survival.
It was agreed that, as an initial step, researchers in countries where river dolphins are found should ensure that they exchange information on their status adn distribution as fully as possible. It was also urged that existing studies should be expanded and new ones implemented, as soon as possible, into the precise effects of environmental disturbance on river dolphin populations.
Dams, it was argued, should be sited near the headwaters of a river whenever feasible, leaving as much of the dolphin population as possible in a continuous habitat, and should not be placed on undisturbed tributaries. It would be less environmentally disruptive to place a series of dams on one river than single dams on several rivers.
The best and most immediate hope of preventing existing populations of rive dolphins from become further depleted is to set up natural reserves where any large, relatively undisturbed, stretches of their range that remain can be set aside for the dolphins' protection and where discharges of contaminants, mining, fishing activities and boat traffic would be banned.
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