One of Hong Kong’s mascots, the popularity of the pink dolphin means there are always tours available in the city and the South China region to watch the creature. Below, we look at the dolphin itself, environmental protection and, of course where to see the pink dolphin.
What Is the Pink Dolphin?
The pink dolphin as it’s commonly known in Hong Kong is actually, technically the Chinese White Dolphin. The dolphin gained its name from the pink spots on its skin. While there is no definitive scientific explanation for the dolphin’s pink appearance, it’s believed the blushing pink color is caused by the animal trying regulate their body temperature. The lack of natural predators in the area, such as sharks, means they may also have shed their natural grey camouflage.
So, Are They Actually Pink?
Absolutely. Their skin is strong shade of pink.
Where Can I See the Pink Dolphins?
The natural habitat of the pink dolphin is the Pearl River estuary, with the largest groups clustered around Lantau Island and Peng Chau. Your best bet to see the creatures up close is Dolphinwatch, a quasi environmental tour group that offers regular boat trips to Lantau and a 96% success rate on sightings. The group offers three trips a week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Prices are around HK$420 (US$55) for adults and HK$180 for under 12s. If you fail to spot a dolphin on your trip, you can join the next available trip for free. You can check rates and availability for trips now through Kijubi.
While the dolphins really are a majestically sight, it’s important to be aware that you won’t get a Seaworld show. The WWF estimate there are around 1000 dolphins in the whole Pearl River estuary, so sightings tend to be uncommon and brief. The tour takes roughly three hours, during which you may see the dolphins for just a couple of minutes. It is, nevertheless, well worth the effort.
Do Tours Harm the Pink Dolphins?
Major factors in the decline of the pink dolphin are a loss of habitat, mostly caused by the Hong Kong Airport project, pollution in the Pearl River Delta and the massive amount of shipping in and around Hong Kong.
The WWF Hong Kong does not support Dolphinwatch or any other tours to view the Pink Dolphins. Dolphinwatch maintains that it follows all best practices to minimise its impact on the dolphin’s habitat and that its tours are only a fraction of the shipping in the area. It also claims that the awareness it raises of the pink dolphins plight (yes a lecture is involved on every tour) counterbalance the negative effect of its tours. Dolphinwatch also donate money from the tours to Friends of the Earth and actively lobby for Pink Dolphin conservation. If you want to see the dolphins, Dolphinwatch offers the most eco-friendly tour available.You can check their rates and availability through Kijubi.