Recent research reveals, dolphin activity has risen 30 percent in Hong Kong waters since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.
Hong Kong sees a revival in its seas with rare, pink dolphins, allowing to the novel pandemic with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Due to the high-speed ferries operating between Hong Kong and Macau, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, also known as Chinese white dolphins and pink dolphins, had evaded the Pearl River Delta for years.
But after the ferry operation was stopped in March, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dolphins started returning to the waters almost unexpectedly.
A senior research scientist with the University of St Andrews, Dr. Lindsay Porter, told The Guardian and Reuters that since March, dolphin activity had jumped 30 percent in the Pearl River Delta.
"These waters, which were once one of the busiest thoroughfares in Hong Kong, have now become very quiet," said Porter, who has been studying dolphins for 30 years.
After Hong Kong closed its borders in March, Porter told The Guardian she was doing research when she discovered the surge of dolphin activity.
"It was the last week in February, literally the week after the ferries stopped traveling between Hong Kong and Macau," she explained. "I've been studying these dolphins since 1993, and I've never seen anything like this dramatic change before, and the only thing that changed is 200 ferries stopped traveling before."
She and her colleagues could drop microphones into the water and use drones to observe the dolphins thanks to local Hong Kong people giving Porter a yacht and boat out.
"From visual observations, the dolphins are spending much more time socializing, splashing around on the surface, quite a bit of foreplay, quite a bit of sex," she said.
A conservation organization affiliated with Porter's research, WWF Hong Kong, said that the Pearl River Delta is estimated to have about 2,500 dolphins.
But the group noticed a "worrisome decline in the number of young dolphins" in the waters of Hong Kong.
"I sometimes feel that we're studying the slow demise of this population, which can be sad," Porter told Reuters.
According to WWF Hong Kong, the main threats to dolphins include overfishing, water contamination, heavy sea traffic, and coastal construction.
"It is necessary to take a proactive approach to conserve the remaining population of the species before it's too late," the conservation group said.
Image Credit: REUTERS, LINDSAY PORTER VIA WWF
Video Credit: Youtube