The rare pink dolphin returns to Hong Kong waters after the coronavirus lockdown prevents ferry transportation
- Since March, the sight of vulnerable dolphins in China has risen by 30%
- Boat and ferry travel was suspended in the area for the first time in the same month
- With the calm of water travel, scientists have been able to study the response of dolphins to noise
Since the coronavirus lockdown prevented ferry travel in the area, the rare pink dolphins seen in Hong Kong waters have jumped.
Indo-Pacific dolphins-also known as Chinese white dolphins and pink dolphins-are migrating from Hong Kong back to parts of the Pearl River Delta.
Since March, due to the coronavirus lockdown, ferry transportation has been suspended, and their number has increased by 30%.
Due to the lockdown of the coronavirus, ferry transportation in parts of the Pearl River Delta was stopped and the rare pink dolphin returned to Hong Kong
Two undated photos of Chinese white dolphins are in the waters near Hong Kong. Scientists say that since March, the number of dolphins in the delta has jumped by 30%.
Dolphins once avoided the area due to the passage of ships between Hong Kong and Macau.
Marine scientist Lindsay Porter, who has been studying dolphins near Hong Kong for 30 years, said: “Since the ferry stopped in the area, what we have noticed is that dolphins that have not been seen in four, five or six years have returned to Hong Kong. Kong Habitat.
“It seems that the dolphins returned to this waterway soon.”
Porter added: “Normally, there are fast ferries everywhere in the whole area, bringing people back to Macau from Hong Kong.”
Since the start of the Covid pandemic in Macau, travel in many areas has been restricted and fast ferries have stopped. The water became very, very quiet.
The calmness of water transportation provides scientists with a rare opportunity to study how underwater noise affects the behavior of dolphins.
Porter and her team dropped the microphone into the water from a rubber boat and used a drone to monitor the dolphins.
Porter said that studies have shown that dolphins adapt to a quiet environment faster than expected, and when this pressure is removed, the number of dolphins may rebound.
Scientists believe that there are about 2,000 dolphins in the entire Pearl River Estuary.
Marine scientist Lindsay Porter (pictured) said that the stagnation of water traffic in the waters near Hong Kong provides scientists with a rare opportunity to study the response of dolphins to underwater sounds
A survey conducted by the Hong Kong government starting in 2019 found that only about 52 dolphins entered the waters near the Asian financial center, but Porter believes that the actual number may be slightly higher.
She said: “Sometimes I think we are studying the slow demise of this population, which is really sad.”
She said that even if this decline cannot be stopped, this research could help other dolphin populations elsewhere.
The focus of Hong Kong’s conservation plan is to open ocean parks, where the passage of boats is restricted but not prohibited. Three of these areas are frequented by dolphins.
The Hong Kong World Wildlife Fund, a conservation organization, and Porter said that these measures are not enough because dolphins are still in danger of being hit by ferry as they move between protected areas.
She said: “This means that if we do develop a comprehensive management plan in Hong Kong and take more effective protection measures, then we may be able to quickly stop the decline in the number of dolphins.”