Friday, May 24, 2013

Rare and Rarer Still

First of all, I didn't even know there were pink dolphins until I had the privilege of seeing them in the Orinoco River in Venezuela. 

I remember blinking my eyes at telltale dorsals and breaching backs that were all pink.  I wondered if some aquatic graffiti artist was playing tricks.  Nope.  Natural and very real.  To add to the intrigue, science is not sure how they get that rosy hue.

Second, I am amazed that they have survived in such a heavily urbanized place as Hong Kong harbor. 

Surviving is the operative word, perhaps with a "barely" in front of it, according to conservationists.  The numbers have steadily declined due to loss of habitat -- filling in the water to make new land, what they call reclamation.  Water pollution is also a big factor. 

It is getting dicey in Hong Kong for the unique dolphins.  They need help.

Samantha Lee, senior marine conservation officer for the World Wildlife Fund, called on the government to abandon reclamation work in the western waters of Hong Kong, where she said the dolphins were being driven away.

"There are too many reclamation works and we are worried the threat will increase and the dolphins will one day disappear from our waters," Lee said in the South China Morning Post.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged that the government will "take more vigorous efforts to clean up such pollution" but did not specify exactly what the Chinese government intends to do.  Li's most recent remarks echo his earlier sentiments from January, when he said the resolution to China's pollution problem will "require a long-term process," according to the Huffington Post.  Seems like the pink dolphin can't wait that long.

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