Unless pollution is stopped and other threats are dealt with, conservationists are worried that rare Chinese white dolphins, also known as pink dolphins because of their coloring, will become extinct.
According to the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, the number of pink dolphins fell from 158 in 2003 to only 78 in 2011. The society expects that the number of dolphins fell even further in 2012.
''It is up to the government and every Hong Kong citizen to stand up for dolphins," said society chairman Samuel Hung. "We risk losing them unless we all take action."
The problems the pink dolphins are facing were perfectly captured by a tour guide from Hong Kong DolphinWatch in a Facebook video. The guide saw a group of dolphins helping a mother who was trying to revive her dead calf and got the scene on video, The Age reported.
"I started to film, and it was then that I noticed the dead baby calf," the tour guide explained. "From its size and color, I guessed it was a newborn. It was so depressing and so very sad. There was a group of four or five dolphins taking turns with the mother to try to keep the baby on the surface of the water. We watched it for about 30 minutes."
Hong Kong DolphinWatch spokeswoman Janet Walker said there were two other similar incidents in April. ''We're 99 percent certain the calf died from toxins in the mother's milk, accumulated from polluted seawater,'' she said.
In addition to pollution problems, the pink dolphin population is being threatened by overfishing, an increase in marine traffic, habitat loss and coastal development.