Marine construction projects are pushing a living aquatic symbol of Hong Kong to the brink of extinction, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, known as Chinese white dolphins or pink dolphins, are struggling to survive as projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge worsen the environment in Hong Kong waters, the report said.
The dolphins were chosen in 1997 by the former British colony as its official mascot to symbolize its handover to Chinese sovereignty but their numbers are dwindling, according to the Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin National Nature Reserve.
Reserve director Gu Xichun said there are more than 1,800 of the species, down from about 2,600 several years ago, and the number is falling due to factors such as heavy water pollution, construction projects, illegal fishing encroaching on food stocks, and injuries from high-speed boats.
The mainland authorities previously said there were fewer dolphins in local waters because they had moved temporarily to waters closer to the Pearl River estuary to avoid the impact from the construction and would return once the projects are completed.
The projects also include the planned third runway, the artificial island on East Lantau and land reclamation at Lung Kwu Tan.
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