A dolphin concern group published on its social media page that one chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis) and four finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) were found stranded between Saturday the 17th and Monday the 19th of February. Autopsy scans found food remains in the dolphins, showing they were not starved to death. However, they showed multiple fractures. It is feared they were hit by motorboats as they had injuries on their heads and necks.
One finless porpoise was almost cut in half by what is thought to have been a boat propeller.
The adult Chinese white dolphin was found stranded at Mo To Chau. It was a 2.5-meter female, at least 10 years old, and with signs of choking, bone fractures and serious bone dislocation. The death of an adult female is a great loss to the species’ population growth, with numbers in Hong Kong down from over 120 some years ago to 47 at present.
In the past three years there have only been 3-4 stranded cetaceans in tyhe months of January and February. This year, more than 10 dead cetaceans have been discovered in the same period.
High-speed boats are always a big threat to dolphins and some might be hit by propellers and never be discovered. The Dolphin Conservation Society of Hong Kong (HKDCS) has urged the government to launch a speed restrictions on boats around dolphin and porpoise habitats or even ban them from entering these areas.
According to the HKDCS only one new-born Chinese white dolphin was recorded last year. With the loss of another adult female dolphin, there is a dwindling chance of recovery of the local population.
Xinhua reported on the 22nd of July (2017) that a rare rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), named Jiangjiang, was released back to sea earlier this week, two months after it beached itself and was rescued in Guangdong Province.
The 2.2-meter male dolphin was found stranded on the coast of Heisha Bay near the city of Jiangmen (200 km west of Hong Kong) on May 3. It was suffering breathing troubles, according to Yang Naicai, a vet who joined the rescue operation.
Rescuers checked the dolphin’s breathing, gave an injection of antibiotics, and provided food and medicine to help it regain its strength.
The animal was housed in a pool designated for dolphin rescue at the Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin National Nature Reserve.
“We maintained round the clock monitoring, hoping for a miracle,” said Chen Hailiang, from the reserve.
The dolphin, which weighs around 100 kg, was released back to the sea on Thursday as its physical condition had returned to normal.
Although the rough-toothed dolphin, a national second class protected species, can be found in deep tropical, subtropical and temperate waters around the world, it is a rare visitor to Chinese coastal waters.
In 2014, a rough-toothed dolphin stranded in Guangdong died despite rescue efforts.
On the morning of the 2nd July (2017), a man fishing at Kat Tsai Wan, off the west coast of Lamma Island, found a 2.5 meter long pink dolphin washed up on the beach. The man told Apple Daily that he could tell from his boat that the animal was dead.
The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK) response team visited the site and conducted a necropsy on the beach. The dolphin was an adult female and was carrying an unborn calf at full term.
The male calf measured 1.02 m in length, was also dead. The foundation said in a statement that no net entanglement or evidence of physical trauma was found on either carcasses, and both were severely decomposed.
The OPCFHK team said the mother dolphin’s organs and flesh indicated that she was very healthy prior to her death. The team has took organ, blubber, and tissue samples for further testing, inlcuding for microplastics.
It appears that shortly after the first sighting of a short-finned pilot in Hong Kong (see post from January 14th), we now have the first stranding of a dead short-finned pilot whale. Ocean Park’s Cetacean Stranding Response Team investigated an adult female short-finned pilot whale stranding case today at Cheung Sha Lan, Discovery Bay. It’s 365cm long and as the carcass was severely decomposed, the cause of death cannot be determined. The Team and a veterinarian have done a necropsy on site. The preliminary findings show:
• A 12cm superficial wound was found near the fluke, though it unclear if this is pre-mortem or post-mortem
• A thin blubber layer of 1.5cm (mean blubber layer thickness of adult female short-finned pilot whale is 1.91cm), indicating that the dolphin was relatively thin and weak
The team sent the head, flippers and dorsal fin to Hong Kong Veterinary Imaging Centre for Computed Tomography (CT) scanning, and collected tissue samples for further testing.
Many people asked if this short-finned pilot whale is the same one people sighted at Tsim Sha Tsui on January 13. The dorsal fins on cetaceans have unique characteristics that allow identification of individuals, but since the dolphin’s dorsal fin was severely decomposed, no identification can be made as yet. Yet, as short-finned pilot whales are rare in Hong Kong, and the length of the carcass is similar to the estimated length of the pilot whale sighted in Tsim Sha Tsui (about 3 meter), the possibility can not be ruled out that they are the same individual.
In case you are wondering how this white carcass could have come from a black short-finned pilot whale: this often happens to decomposing whales and dolphins. I once saw a 0.5 m Finless porpoise washed up dead at the Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve. Normally Finless Porpoises are black, but the carcass was also white.
A 3.3 m long, 386 kg whale was found by hikers on Friday (26th September 2014) on the rocky shoreline at Fung Hang village near Sha Tau Kok (NE New Territories). Due to the remote location of the site, AFCD staff decided to suspend the investigation, as night fell. Officers tied the dead whale with a rope to fix it on the beach and prevent it from drifting away during the rising tide. Experts joined the investigation the following day to identify the dead whale species and the cause of death.
Images by Ocean Park Conservation Fund. 9/2014.
The whale did not have any obvious fatal wounds or signs of infection, but had begun to rot and some of the gray-black skin was peeing off.
A preliminary veterinary inspection suggests that it is a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).
The Pygmy Sperm Whale
Drawing showing relative size of a Pygmy Sperm Whale and a human
This species is normally found in deep waters several hundred to a thousand meters deep such as off Taiwan’s east coast. Hong Kong waters are only tens of meters deep, so pygmy sperm whales generally do not live or pass through Hong Kong. Most likely the whale got lost or was already dying while passing by Hong Kong waters and then drifted in to shore.
Skin , teeth, subcutaneous fat , heart, reproductive system and muscle samples were taken for further testing and City University of Hong Kong will receive the whale carcasses to produce bone specimens.
The dolphin was 2m long dolphin and died after becoming stranded on the beach at Tung Wan, part of the popular Tai Long Wan area in Sai Kung.
Three hikers found the mammal in trouble at about 5pm on Saturday and helped to keep it alive, according to an Ocean Park spokesman.
Staff at the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department came to assist in the rescue about four and a half hours later. “The dolphin was found injured with visible external wounds,” an Ocean Park spokesman said.
A picture taken during the effort showed rescuers attempting to move the injured dolphin using a large piece of material.
The 68kg dolphin was taken to Ocean Park for treatment but eventually died from its injuries yesterday afternoon.
“Given the dolphin was extremely weak and had multiple external wounds. It was already a miracle that we were able to bring it back to Ocean Park for treatment after it was found beached in Sai Kung,” said Suzanne Gendron, director of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation.
The dolphin eventually died. “Necropsy of the dolphin indicated acute hemorrhagic pneumonia and associated sepsis involving all lymph nodes, liver and spleen,” Ocean Park said.
Since 2006, there have been more than 229 cases of cetaceans becoming stranded in Hong Kong waters.
At around 11am on the 15th April 2014 the body of a white dolphin was found washed ashore at Anglers Beach in Sham Tseng.
The dolphin appeared to have been hit by a hard object on the head and back and so authorities believe he may have died because of injuries caused by a travelling boat or ferry.
A spokesperson from the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation confirmed that the dolphin was a young male Chinese white dolphin. The dolphin was 115cm in length and the body decay suggests the dolphin has been dead for quite some time.