Pink dolphin numbers surge in Hong Kong as pandemic halts ferries

Image Source: Alex Hofford/EPA

While the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to its feet, there has also been a silver lining: wildlife in various parts of the world has thrived due to the lack of human interference and activity.

Earlier, we had written about how two giant pandas at the Ocean Park Zoo in Hong Kong mated for the first time in 10 years, thanks to the privacy that they got due to the closure of the zoo due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, Thailand witnessed a massive resurgence of rare leatherback turtles on its beaches.

Here is another good news that Hong Kong has witnessed due to the pandemic.

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, also often known as Chinese white dolphins and pink dolphins, have returned in huge numbers to waters in Hong Kong. According to researchers, their numbers have increased by a whopping 30 per cent since March 2020. And this, they believe, has occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic reducing water traffic, which includes the suspension of high-speed ferries.

Dr. Lindsay Porter, a senior research scientist with the University of St Andrews, told the Guardian: “It was the last week in February, literally the week after the ferries stopped travelling between Hong Kong and Macau.”

“I’ve been studying these dolphins since 1993 and I’ve never seen anything like this dramatic change before, and the only thing that changed is 200 ferries stopped travelling before.”

She also observed that the dolphins are now spending more time socializing and playing by splashing around the surface, an event that she attributes to the low water traffic. This is significant because these dolphins are otherwise known to be stressed and do not spend much time indulging in activities other than eating and resting.

Her team of researchers is now calling for protections to these beautiful creatures before the ferries resume. This plan includes chalking out another route for the ferries away from the area where the dolphins inhabit.

The lockdowns due to the pandemic has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for these animals that we humans have, for long, exploited. Isn’t it?

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