Have you already seen pink dolphins?
They are also known as Chinese white dolphins and live in the South China Sea. They are very rare but can occasionally be seen off Lantau Island.
Why are they pink or white? Are they albinos?
No! They are actually born dark grey and their skin gradually whitens. According to researchers, the pinkish color comes from the location of some of their blood vessels in the skin epidermis in order to regulate the dolphin’s body temperature.
Hong Kong’s general public first heard of the pink dolphins in the 1990s when the new airport, Chek Lap Kok, was built. Its construction damaged part of the dolphins‘ natural habitat in the north of Lantau Island and consequently affected their reproduction and lifecycle. The population became sensitive and the species is now protected, they are around 60 dolphins left in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, constructions such as the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge and the airport’s third runway but also heavy maritime traffic, pollution, and trawling are also endangering them. Their life expectancy is now half of other dolphins’ (they live approximately 20 years).
We were extremely lucky to see Lantau’s pink dolphins last time we were touring in Tai O fishing village. Our sampan took us not too far from the shores where “flipper”, the picture below, suddenly appeared to say hello.
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