The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou are jointly conducting a survey to collect data about the Chinese white dolphin and other marine mammals which are found in the waters off Macau, the bureau said in a statement yesterday.
According to previous media report, the carcasses of a Chinese white dolphin and a finless porpoise were found on Hac Sa Beach in Coloane last month.
For better understanding of the dolphins and other marine mammals found near Macau, the bureau started the survey, according to a statement.
The bureau said that about 70 dolphins are living in the waters near the local airport, Cheoc Van Beach, Zhuhai’s Guishan Island and Ilha Verde, according to a joint inspection carried out on September 23 by IACM staff members including Leong Kuan Fong, a member of the IACM administration committee, and a research team of the university headed by Prof. Wu Yuping.
According to a previous survey by the university, there about are 1,500 Chinese white dolphins living in the waters in the mouth of the Pearl River. As Macau is located to the west of the Pearl River, Chinese white dolphins are often found here, the bureau said.
The bureau also said the findings of a survey conducted by the university between 2011 and this year showed that the main local habitat for the dolphins are near the local airport where they can be found within three to five metres off the shore. The findings also showed that some of the dolphins often visit the waters south off Coloane and the waters west off Friendship Bridge.
The bureau pointed out that the Chinese white dolphin, its binomial name being Sousa chinensis, is a national protected animal facing extinction. Internationally, its official conservation status is “near threatened.”
Animal protection groups have been urging the authorities in Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland to ensure that the living environment for the rare dolphins is not affected by the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in the waters which the cetacean mammals inhabit.
At birth, Chinese white dolphins are black. They change to grey, then pinkish with spots when young. Adults are white or pink because of which they are also known as pink dolphins.
According to Wikipedia, their pink colour originates not from a pigment, but from blood vessels which were overdeveloped for thermoregulation.
Belonging to the humpback dolphin species, they can live up to 40 years. (macaunews/macaupost)