Chinese white dolphin, or Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis by Samuel Hung
The Chinese white dolphin or Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is a humpback dolphin species. An adult is white or pink and may appear as an albino dolphin to some. Uniquely, the population along the Chinese coast has pink skin, and the pink colour originates not from a pigment, but from blood vessels which were overdeveloped for thermoregulation. These dolphins inhabit the waters of Southeast Asia. At birth, the dolphins are black and then they change to grey, then pinkish with spots when young and adults are white.
Chinese white dolphins rise to the water surface to breathe for 20 to 30 seconds and after that, they will dive into deep water again. Adult dolphins can stay underwater for about two to eight minutes, but a calf can only stay underwater for one to three minutes and adult dolphins rarely stay underwater for more than four minutes. They sometimes leap completely out of the water. They may also rise up vertically from the water, exposing the dorsal half of their bodies. A pair of protruding eyes allows them to see clearly in both air and water.
The white dolphin has been threatened, mostly by Hong Kong’s pollution. Conservationists warned that Hong Kong may lose its rare Chinese white dolphins, also known as pink dolphins for their unique colour, unless it takes urgent action against pollution and other threats. Their numbers in Hong Kong waters have fallen from an estimated 158 in 2003 to just 78 in 2011