Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, which
fights to protect endangered species, has released data for the pink dolphins. Estimated
at 158 in 2003, the number of the rare mammal stood at 78 in 2011, a drop of
about 50 per cent in eight years. The dolphins are a popular local tourist
An image provided by the Society shows pink dolphins playing in
waters off Lantau, Hong Kong on June 7, 2011. Two weeks ago, a tour guide from
Hong Kong Dolphinwatch spotted a group of pink dolphins helping a grieving
mother support the body of her dead calf above the water in an attempt to
revive it. The scene, captured on video and widely shared on Facebook, has raised fresh concerns among
local environmentalists about the dwindling population.
"It is up to the government and every Hong Kong citizen to
stand up for dolphins," said Samuel Hung, chairman of the society. "We
risk losing them unless we all take action."
Shipping and habitat destruction are the greatest threat to the
species. Pollution is another problem. "We're 99 per cent certain the calf
died from toxins in the mother's milk, accumulated from polluted
seawater," said Hong Kong Dolphinwatch spokeswoman Janet Walker.
Fewer than 2,500 of the mammals survive in the Pearl River Delta,
the body of water between Macau and Hong Kong, with the majority found in
Chinese waters and the rest in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, an unprecedented number of dolphin beachings continues to
baffle scientists. Some experts believe the latter may be caused by naval sonar
The dolphins, a population of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin
species, are listed as "near-threatened" by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature.