Local Residents of Hong Kong- Chinese White Dolphin

        Not too long ago, when the Hong Kong public heard about the ¡§Chinese white dolphin¡¨, they only had the idea that it was the mascot for the Hong Kong Handover in 1997, and at that time some even thought that it was merely a cartoon character. The others may believe that Chinese white dolphins are endemic to Hong Kong and soon to be extinct, thanks to the incorrect information released by some local media and environment groups. Luckily, the tide has turned. In the last few years, through the education and publicity programme organized by the Hong Kong government and extensive coverage by local newspapers and media, the Chinese white dolphin has now become the most celebrated creature in Hong Kong. Many members of the public are quite familiar with the knowledge of the dolphins, and some have even participated in the local dolphin-watching tours organized by private operators or NGOs to appreciate the beauty of Chinese white dolphins and their unique pink colour!


Profiles of Chinese White Dolphins

Name : The name ¡§Chinese white dolphin¡¨ is given by the local people in southern China, and actually its official common name is ¡§indo-Pacific humpback dolphin¡¨ and its scientific name is ¡§Sousa chinensis.¡¨ Local fishermen used to call them ¡§Mazhu fish¡¨ (meaning the fish of the sea goddess), while others may call them ¡§black taboo¡¨ and ¡§white taboo.¡¨


Distribution : Chinese white dolphins are mainly distributed on the western waters of Hong Kong. Their major habitats include the waters north and west of Lantau Island. In the summer and autumn, they also occur in waters south of Lantau Island. In addition, the dolphin population is also distributed throughout the Pearl River Estuary to the west of the Hong Kong border, from Neilingding Island in the north to Guishan Island in the south, and extending westward to waters near Zhuhai and Macau. There are even sighting records of Chinese white dolphin occurring in Modao Men and further west.


Researchers in Hong Kong use several methods to study different aspects of the dolphins. For example, they conduct boat surveys to study the abundance and distribution of the Chinese white dolphins. The research vessel will follow designated routes for researchers to look for dolphins, and at the same time they will record some important information once they see the dolphins. Land-based surveys are also conducted using high power binoculars to observe the dolphins from a heights on land  (e.g. Sha Chau ) . From land, researchers can observe the dolphins¡¦ behavior , dive patterns and distribution. They also use helicopter occasionally to search for dolphins in a large area within a relatively short period of time.