Dolphin Populations Around Hong Kong Dropped 80% in 15 Years Likely Due to Noise Pollution

Dolphin Populations Around Hong Kong Dropped 80% in 15 Years Likely Due to Noise Pollution

In the last 15 years, dolphin populations around Hong Kong have dropped over 80 percent, likely due to noise pollution, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported.

Dolphins rely on sound to socialize and hunt in the ocean. However, a noisy environment can inhibit their ability to do these vital tasks.

The sea surrounding Hong Kong is very noisy and is filled with freight ships that are constantly going in and out of the post.

There are high-speed ferries, and the coast continues to develop. National Geographic reported that it is one of the most densely-urbanized areas on the planet.

While all of this is going on, the Pearl River Delta is home to approximately 2,000 Chinese white dolphins.

Unfortunately, this population is declining due to “severe human disturbance,” WWF reported. Dolphins rely on sound for eating, socializing, and even navigation and are extremely sensitive to loud noises.

National Geographic reported that research led by the conservation group WWF found that during the pandemic, when the ferry traffic stopped, the Chinese white dolphin’s levels of foraging jumped. They found that socializing rose nearly fourfold.

Recent research even found that noise pollution under the oceans is causing animals to ‘shout’ at each other so they can hear. Another recent study found that noise pollution is affecting whale songs, which prevents them from contacting each other.

The harmful effects of overfishing and deep-sea trawling have been extensively documented, but another huge and less well-known threat to marine life is noise pollution.

Man-made sonar emanations disorientate cetaceans, sea turtles, and fish to such an extent that they end up being driven out of their natural habitats or even suffering shoal collapse.

This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 14 December 2022.

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