Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pink Dolphins!

Okay, Hong Kong has pink Dolphins (Sousa chinensis chinensis, or   Zhōnghuá bái hǎitún.)  They are very endangered and they are cute beyond all measure of cute:

Rare white dolphin species in Hong Kong with Pink Skin
Chinese Pink Dolphin

Pink Dolphin in Hong Kong, White Dolphin Species
Pink Dolphin

These are actually an even rarer (and nearly extinct) subspecies of an already rare white dolphin species.  They are so endangered that there are only about 100 left.  They are native to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Estuary.  They don't migrate so you can find them any time of year.  

If you want to spot them from land, try the overlook above the village of Tai O on Lantau island.  You're pretty far up in the air up there so take a pair of binoculars.   

If you'd like to have a go at getting close to them, Hong Kong Dolphin Watch runs tours year round.  They're in the waters around Hong Kong three or four days a week and boast a 97% spotting rate.  

If you're feeling more adventurous, open boat tours leave out of Tai O every day headed out to spot the endangered white dolphins.

I was really pleased that tour boats were heading out of Tai O.  Fishermen and dolphins are long time enemies.  In Cantonese a bad omen is sometimes called a "wu gei bak gei"  or a black white taboo."  This refers to the fishermen believing that the dolphins would steal their catch.  Sight seeing boats leaving out of Tao O gives the fishing village incentive to work with conservationist to protect these rare and amazing animals.

It was cold and choppy the day we were in Tai O but if the weather is nice and you've got some time, why not add endangered pink dolphins to the list of amazing things you saw while sightseeing Hong Kong.


Neil said...

I finally checked out the Pink Dolphins as well, and while it was slow at first, turned out to be a wonderful trip. The first few sightings were a disappointment as they were so far away, but with enough time, were able to see them up close!

Turned out to be a great way to spend the day on the water. Would recommend to friends who are visiting.

Joel Stottlemire said...

That's awesome Neil! Did you go with the big charter or the small boats out of Tai O?