HK's airport expansion could harm pink dolphins

While plans to expand Hong Kong’s airport and the current construction of a bridge to Macau may increase region’s capacity for travel, it could also have an unfortunate impact – harming the area's pink dolphins.

Hong Kong's airport expansion may harm the areas pink dolphins.

Hong Kong's airport expansion may harm the areas pink dolphins. Image by chem7 / CC BY 2.0

The Chinese white dolphins, which appear pink in colour, are facing a variety of threats, according to the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society. The famous pink dolphins are a significant tourist draw to the area, with companies offering boat tours to those eager to spot them.

According to the conservation society’s website, the number of dolphins has dropped from 158 in 2003 to 62 in 2013, and continued development in their habitat may only lead to further losses.

The proposed expansion of the Hong Kong Airport is one threat, with the group claiming the third runway project will involve taking over 650 hectares of dolphin habitat.

The group also claims the ongoing construction of a 50-kilometre bridge from Hong Kong to Zhuhai to Macau is also having a negative impact.

The government has announced plans to designate a mew marine park north of the new runway to compensate for habitat loss, reports The Guardian, but the plan has been criticized by conservationists as it would not be established until 2023 at the earliest. Some feel the dolphin may not be able to last long enough to see the park come to fruition.

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