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Large number of endangered porpoises found off S. Korea's west coast

A large number of endangered porpoises has been discovered near the Taean Peninsula, a sign that the marine mammals are making a comeback off South Korea's western coast, the local park service said Monday.
  
According to the Korea National Park Service, some 100 Indo-Pacific finless porpoises have been sighted in protected waters.
  
It said the discovery of such a large number of porpoises is a sign of the stable and safe eco-system of the Taeanhaean National Park.
  
The mammals are listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and are protected worldwide, although Seoul has not classified them as being endangered.
  
Experts have said that most recent sightings of these mammals have generally taken place around the Korean Peninsula.
  
"Relatively large pods of some 15 whales have been discovered in waters nears the marine national park," a park service official said. He pointed out that the porpoises usually move in much smaller groups.
  
Seoul has been keeping tabs on the region and has reported frequent discoveries, but this is the largest sighting to date.
  
"The numbers clearly show that the mammals are using the area as their habitat," a local official said.
  
This is significant because the region was the site of a major oil spill by a tanker ship in 2009. (Yonhap)

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