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Pregnant dolphin found washed ashore on Lamma

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The waves brought tragedy to Lamma Island on Sunday morning (July 2) as a rare Chinese white dolphin was found washed up on the beach—bad news for an already severely threatened population.

DB resident Gary Stokes, Asia Director for Sea Shepherd, documented the scenes in a series of Facebook Live videos after receiving an email from a concerned resident about a dolphin carcass on the shore.

Describing the scene as “very very sad,” Stokes initially expressed concern that the dolphin may have died from ingesting plastic, as the body had no obvious signs of trauma or damage.

In his next video however, the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCFHK) can be seen performing a necropsy on the beach which establishes that the adult female dolphin was pregnant with a full term calf which had died inside her, infecting the internal organs and resulting in death.

In a third video, Stokes described the details of what he had learned.

“What it looks like is that the baby was actually dead inside. The fetal sac was actually outside which is quite rare, so it looks like the baby died during birth, infecting and killing the mother. When they looked at the mother’s flesh, the blubber, everything was very healthy. [It’s a] very sad day because we’ve actually lost an adult female and obviously they are the key animals in the species.

‘’We’ve lost another of our Chinese white dolphins and we cannot afford to be losing anymore, but this does look like a natural death.’’

The OPCFHK has taken the remains of the dolphin and calf to its premises for further testing.

The deaths are the latest in the ongoing decline of The Chinese white dolphin population, with hopes now dwindling as to whether the population can be salvaged from the damage done by pollution and land reclamation over the past 20 years.

Watch the videos on Facebook

Image: Gary Stokes, Facebook


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