Rare pink dolphins are in danger of extinction due to pollution in Hong Kong. The Chinese white dolphins, known for their remarkable pink color, are at serious risk as their numbers steadily decline.
Conservationists have asked for “urgent action” to reduce the pollution and preserve the dolphins. Three dolphin calves have been found dead since April.
As reported by TheAge.com, Janet Walker of the Hong Kong Dolphin Watch suspects that the baby dolphins are ingesting toxins found in the mother’s milk.
The rare pink dolphins live in the Pearl River Delta, which divides Hong Kong and Macau. There are approximately 2,500 pink dolphins living in the waters. However, by 2011, only 78 remained in the Hong Kong portion. The newest numbers are not expected to be promising.
Conservationists blame coastal development, pollution, increased river traffic, and over-fishing for the potential extinction. As construction continues along the coast, it is expected to put an increased strain on the natural habitat.
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society chairman, Samuel Hung, contends that cooperation is the key to saving the pink dolphins:
“It is up to the government and every Hong Kong citizen to stand up for dolphins. We risk losing them unless we all take action.”
The Chinese white dolphin is considered a species of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. The International Union for Conservation currently lists the humpback dolphins’ status as “near-threatened.”
The dolphins are discussed by the WWF, as being gentle and beautiful. Their existence in the Pearl River was first recorded in the 1600’s. They are particularly in danger of habitat loss and toxins as they congregate close to the shore line.
The youngest generation seems to be experiencing the highest rate of unexplained fatality. As many are still nursing, the mother’s milk is considered a possible source of toxins.
The area is known for the pink dolphins, which are a favorite of tourists. Unfortunately, unless something changes, the dolphins are in serious danger of extinction.
[Image via Flickr]