Pink dolphin warning: 'They will be gone forever'
- Written by December 2, 2015
Conservationists have warned that Lantau's Chinese White Dolphin community is at risk of disappearing due to the impacts of pollution and development.
A report on theguardian.com said numbers of the famous 'pink' dolphins had dwindled in the past few decades and enviromentalists fear construction projects to expand the airport and build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge could spell the end for the mammals.
Samuel Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said there are only about 60 dolphins left in Hong Kong waters.
Mr Hung, who has been going out to sea at least twice a week to monitor dolphin activity for almost 20 years, said dolphin numbers had dropped from 158 in 2003.
"The dolphin decline is caused by a number of factors, including overfishing and environmental pollution ... but I think the major contribution is coming from the increase of high-speed ferry traffic,” Mr Hung told theguardian.com.
He said dolphin habitats had been affected by the construction of the 50km bridge to Macau.
And he warned the proposed construction of the third runway at Chek Lap Kok airport could mean the end of the 'pink' dolphins.
But the government told theguardian.com that potential impacts the proposed third-runway could have on the 'pink' dolphins had been “properly assessed and addressed”.
“To compensate for the permanent loss of Chinese white dolphin habitats arising from the land formation works, the designation of a new marine park of approximately 24ha in the waters north of the third-runway project has been proposed,” a statement from the agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said.
Mr Hung said the marine park would not be completed fast enough to mkae a difference to the dolphin population.
“We think that if that project goes ahead, then it will probably drive the dolphin away from Hong Kong waters,” he said.
“In some ways it seems like we are pushing them closer and closer to the edge of the cliff and if we’re making that final push, they will be gone forever. I think now is the time to get our act together.”