Rare Chinese White Dolphin Sighting Takes Tragic Turn

By Billy Jiang, November 14, 2023

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A rare spectacle unfolded along the Pearl River on the evening of November 7, as a Chinese white dolphin was spotted in a waterway near the Erzhangtan in Baiyun District, Guangzhou. 

Earlier on the same day, residents in Guangzhou had already reported sightings of the white dolphin in the waters beneath the western section of the Zhujiang (Pearl River) Bridge. 

A Chinese white dolphin surfacing multiple times in the Pearl River. Video via GDTV/Sina Weibo

Video footage circulating online depicted the white dolphin surfacing multiple times in the river beneath the bridge.

Both sightings are believed to be of the same Chinese white dolphin. 

According to marine biologists who spoke to local media, the dolphin appeared to be an elderly individual, showing no signs of external injury, and was in good health.

This isn't the first time that a dolphin has been spotted in the Pearl River. 

In the most recent report in 2015, a couple of Chinese white dolphins were spotted in the upstream waters of the Pearl River. 

The Pearl River estuary is one of the most densely populated areas for Chinese white dolphins in China, with approximately 1,100 dolphins estimated in this region, according to official data.

However, a tragic turn of events occurred on the evening of November 13, as residents near the Taigucang Wharf in Haizhu District discovered what seemed to be the carcass of a Chinese white dolphin. 


A carcass of a Chinese white dolphin found near Taigucang Wharf. Image via Guangzhou Daily

When the local wildlife rescue team arrived at the scene, they found no trace of the dolphin's body.

Marine experts explained that when marine animals like white dolphins venture into freshwater areas of river networks and don't return promptly to the sea, they may face dangers such as unsuitable environments, organ infections, or risks associated with vessel activities.

This situation inevitably brings to mind the unfortunate incident reported by That's GBA in July, where a wild whale in Hong Kong tragically encountered a ship. 

READ MORE: Tragedy Strikes as Whale Found Dead in Hong Kong Waters

The discovery of a whale carcass in Hong Kong waters sparked grief and raised concerns about the impact of human activities on marine life.

What are your thoughts on the reappearance of rare wildlife in the Pearl River? Feel free to share your opinions with us. For more updates on the Greater Bay Area, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via Guangzhou Evening News]

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