Chinese White Dolphin

Government must help save lovely dolphins

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 July, 1999, 12:00am

The recent arrival of two pandas from the mainland has helped raise the awareness of people in Hong Kong of the need to save the world's endangered species.

However, the Government should not ignore the plight of threatened species right here in the SAR.

I am particularly concerned about the Chinese white dolphins (better known as pink dolphins) that swim in the waters near north Lantau.

Earlier this month, Airport Authority chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king proposed that the piers in the northeast part of the airport at Chek Lap Kok should be used to handle cargo from the Pearl River Delta region. If he goes ahead with this proposal this will lead to an increase in ship traffic in the dolphins' habitat and push the pink dolphins, the symbol of Hong Kong's reunification with China, closer to extinction.

I first saw a pink dolphin about 16 months ago close to the airport, which was not yet open. It emerged from the water then quickly submerged again. My brief encounter with this lovely creature captured my imagination.

Since then, I have seen very little media coverage on the plight of Hong Kong's pink dolphins, demonstrating the lack of public concern over the issue.

Instead, we read about more reclamation in Lantau, the development of the North Lantau Port and talk of a Disney theme park on the island. These are all things which will seriously threaten the survival of the SAR's dolphin population.

Ironically, all these projects which could kill off the dolphin will be situated close to the Giant Buddha of Po Lin Monastery. The Buddha is a symbol of non-violence and respect for all living things.

To ensure that the pink dolphins can survive, the Government should do the following: Reconsider Mr Fung's proposal to expand the piers at Chek Lap Kok.

Expand the marine park between Lung Kwu Chau and Sha Chau.

Tighten regulations preventing over-fishing in Hong Kong.

Have a re-think about all reclamation projects in north Lantau, and, Regard the preservation of the Chinese white dolphins as a major factor when deciding whether to accept or reject future projects in Lantau.

I hope that the SAR Government can act before it is too late. If we do not act, then the only pink dolphins future generations will ever see will be stuffed ones in glass cases in the Museum of History.





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