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Historical and current records of aquarium cetaceans in China


Correspondence to: Xianfeng Zhang, 7♯ Donghu South Road Wuhan 430072 China


The number of cetaceans housed in aquariums in China is increasing. Detailed information on the historical and current population status has not been reported, despite its importance for successful breeding and population management. Questionnaires were conducted between December 2006 and May 2009, and the information was used to construct studbooks. Our survey showed that 10 species had been introduced to aquariums since 1978, including 26 (with 15 in the current population) finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides), 5 (5) false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), 94 (80) common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 48 (30) Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), 36 (32) beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), 10 (10) pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata), 8 (8) Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), 2 (2) short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), 2 (2) Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and 5 (0) baiji dolphins (Lipotes vexillifer). The number of cetaceans has increased markedly in the past 32 years, especially since 1995. Currently, 184 individuals are under human care throughout China, a number larger than any other country with an International Species Information System membership. In addition, the Annual Survival Rates of bottlenose dolphins (0.959) and beluga whales (0.968) were found higher than those reported previously (0.93–0.951 and 0.94–0.954, respectively). Zoo Biol 31:336–349, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.