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25 May 2005
 
Dolphin Sanctuary
 
Visit the Port River, in Adelaide, where a pod of about 30 dolphins has made its home.


PAUL McCARTHY: It's a beauty and the beast story. The iconic species, the dolphin, living in the murky industrial waters of Port Adelaide.

Whether there's a happy ending to this tale though is still to unfold.

MIKE BOSSLEY (AUSTRALIAN DOLPHIN RESEARCH FOUNDATION): Certainly it's extremely unusual for dolphins to be living permanently in an area so close to a city of a million people. All of the other cities have polluted and destroyed their environment so badly, the dolphins have actually had to leave.

PAUL McCARTHY: The name Mike Bossley has become synonymous with dolphins. He was named South Australian of the Year in honour of the thousands of hours he's spent on the Port River over the past 18 years, identifying individual dolphins and studying them closely.

Dr Bossley has been amazed by their births and too often suffered through their deaths.

MIKE BOSSLEY: I kind of feel like I've shared their lives, and that they and I are kind of part of the same community now.

PAUL McCARTHY: And it's an alarmingly high death rate that has seen him act as a driving force behind setting up official state protection for the species.

MIKE BOSSLEY: The death rate is only partly to do with direct human attacks. I think partly the death rate is also a function of them dying from diseases, quite possibly caused by pollution, and I think the really important thing about the sanctuary is that it's not just protecting the dolphins but it's also protecting the environment that they live in.

PAUL McCARTHY: But just whether it will do that is now the subject of growing debate. There's concern that as each day passes more sewage sludge, factory waste and city stormwater is being added to an already toxic cocktail. And there are fears it may already be too late.

But there's also another possible problem for the sanctuary. The Port is also the habitat of an industrial community and its members are just as eagerly awaiting an expansion for their survival. The plan revolves around the deepening of Outer Harbor to allow bigger ships into our waters.

Flinders Ports hopes to bring in one of the largest dredges in the world to begin the project in April with a completion date pencilled in for November. But some groups, such as the Independent Marine and Coastal Community Network, are worried about the harm it could cause.

TONY FLAHERTY: Well, it will impact on the marine environment and seagrass beds wherever they're dumping the spoil and wherever they're ripping the dredging, the spoil out, which is a range of seagrass beds which are important for fish and in the long-term important for dolphins. So, again, it's a balance and, you know, in my experience, often the environment tends not to be weighed as strongly as it should be in making some of these development decisions along our coast.

JOHN HILL: There's no quick fix here. We're not going to suddenly get rid of industry here and we don't want to. I mean, this is an important part of the state's economy and they can continue to co-exist.

MIKE BOSSLEY: We don't know how close they've been driven to the edge. It may be that they're just hanging in here and that makes the dolphin sanctuary even more important and more critical.


story notes

 beauty and the beast story
 
A beauty and the beast story is a story about something beautiful and something unpleasant. The dolphins are the 'beauty' and industry is the 'beast'.
 

 iconic
 
very famous

 murky industrial
 
Murky means dark and dirty or difficult to see through. Industrial means related to industry. An industrial area has a lot of industry and factories.
 

 happy ending
 
If there is a happy ending the story ends in a positive way, so that everyone is happy.

 still to unfold
 
If a story unfolds, it develops or becomes clear to people. So we will have to wait to find out what will happen to the dolphins.

 close
 
Follow the link and listen to another way of pronouncing the word spelled c-l-o-s-e (close).
 
more information: close

 become
 
Here become is the past participle of the irregular verb become.
 
more information: become

 spent
 
Here spent is the past participle of the irregular verb spend.
 
more information: spend

 seen
 
Seen is the past participle of the irregular verb see.
 
more information: see

 setting up
 
establishing
 
For more about the phrasal verb set up, follow the link.
 
more information: set up

 sanctuary
 
A sanctuary is a safe place.

 quick fix
 
A quick fix is a fast and easy solution to a problem. It isn’t a long-term solution to a problem.

 get rid of
 
To get rid of something means to dispose of it and be free of it.
 
Example: I want to get rid of all this rubbish.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 co-exist
 
To co-exist means to live or exist together at the same time. He thinks that dolphins and industry can live together.

 driven to the edge
 
To be driven to the edge means to be pushed close to a limit or boundary.Here, ‘the edge’ refers to the limit of the dolphin’s ability to survive.
 
Notice the we use the past participle driven.
 
more information: drive

 hanging in here
 
Hanging in there means persevering or persisting despite difficulties.
 
Example: It's two goals to nil, but they are still hanging in there and playing good football.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.