A young female Chinese white dolphin was found dead off southwest Lantau with six companions swimming around her rotten corpse, a touching scene that could mean they had been trying to revive her, Apple Daily reported Friday.
The Cetacean Stranding Response Team, under the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, said marine police spotted the dolphins near Peaked Hill on Thursday morning and brought it to the shore.
Experts from the Ocean Park foundation was set to conduct an autopsy on Friday, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for the team said the dolphin’s corpse had sharply deterioriated before it was spotted. Based on her size of 1.71 meters long, she was still young. An adult is normally more than 2 meters long.
It was not the first sighting of Chinese white dolphins surrounding a dead companion, the spokesman said. In one case, the dolphins tried to drag the body to the shore as evidenced by tooth marks on the corpse. There were also several instances of a mother dolphin swimming beside a dead calf.
The Chinese white dolphin was chosen by Hong Kong as its official mascot for its handover to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Its population is dwindling through the years. Some experts blame infrastructure projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge for causing stress on the marine mammal’s habitat.
An Ocean Park study showed that the population of Chinese white dolphins could drop by as much as 74 percent over the next 60 years if sea pollution at the Pearl River estuary continued to worsen, the report said.
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