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    » 05/08/2013, 00.00

    HONG KONG

    Pink dolphin facing extinction from pollution in China's southern sea



    One of Hong Kong's main tourist attractions, the sea mammal has seen its numbers drop by half between 2003 and 2011. Environmental organisations launch an appeal to raise awareness in government circles and among residents.

    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 attraction.

    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 exercises.

    The dolphins, a population of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin species, are listed as "near-threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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    See also

    19/04/2007 CHINA – HONG KONG
    Chinese White Dolphin in danger
    Since 2004 28 Chinese White Dolphins have been found dead in Hong Kong waters. Lab tests found significant amounts of pollutants in the carcasses. Many groups blame the problem on high pollution levels in local coastal waters and call for action to remedy the situation.

    09/06/2006 HONG KONG
    Pollution causes 1,600 deaths per year

    Air pollution, which is worse than in all the big western cities, is also the result of industrial development in Guangdong's coastal area.



    23/07/2007 HONG KONG
    Hong Kong’s sky “a little more blue”
    According to government research, 2007 registered the lowest levels of air pollution in the last 9 years. Environmentalists express doubts over research methods and attribute key role to atmospheric agents.

    11/06/2008 HONG KONG – CHINA
    Air pollution kills 10,000 people in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong
    Study also blames poor air quality fir 11 million doctor visits and 440,000 hospital bed days.

    05/11/2004 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Air pollution costs a billion dollar per year
    Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are on the rise.



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