Earlier this month on a visit to Hong Kong over an assignment, I took a trip with WWF to the fishing village of Tai O. While the trip yielded my first dolphin sightings in the wild (the Chinese White Dolphin, a race of the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin, for which the Pearl River Delta in Hong Kong is one of the last remaining strongholds); a very special moment for me, I also happened to witness a rather jolting sight- that of a dead infant.
Infant mortality for dolphins has been on the rise in the Pearl Delta, because of the rising level of pollutants in the water, that go on to accumulate in and contaminate the milk of dolphins nursing their pups. Seeing that smiling face on a dead body has been one of the most disturbing moments for me in nature. Being one of the world's busiest ports, Hong Kong's polluted waters are already largely devoid of natural marine resources, posing a critical threat to the population of Chinese White Dolphins.
The situation for Indo-pacific Humpbacks in India is not any better, with boat traffic, pollution, over-fishing, and noise threatening their existence. The comic appears in my column with Mid-Day today. This one's for you, baby dolphin.