The pink dolphin population had been affected by the fast moving ferry boats between Hong Kong and Macau.
While the human world slowed down because of the pandemic, the natural world seems to have become more lively. There are species and ecosystems that are thriving because human life has slowed down. Nature seems to be reclaiming its spaces while humans are confined to their homes.
One of those species which might be making a recovery is the rare pink dolphins. They are also called Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins or Chinese white dolphins. They have reportedly increased in numbers around the seas in Hong Kong after ferries have been suspended because of the pandemic. Sightings of the pink dolphins have increased by almost 30% since March, when boat and ferry traffic was suspended, reported The Independent.
Marine scientists worry that the species might be on a downward trajectory but the latest findings show that the marine mammals have adapted quickly to the new normal, which gives them some hope.
These dolphins have been subjected to overfishing, water pollution, as well as water traffic in the form of ferries and boats. The animals had stopped being seen in the waters between Hong Kong and Macau because of the numerous boats and ferries plying in the area. Dr. Lindsay Porter, a senior research scientist with the University of St Andrews, told the Guardian she was studying the area shortly after Hong Kong and Macau closed their borders.
"It was the last week in February, literally the week after the ferries stopped traveling between Hong Kong and Macau," she said. "I’ve been studying these dolphins since 1993 and I’ve never seen anything like this dramatic change before, and the only thing that changed is 200 ferries stopped traveling than before," she added.
Her team was able to attain a yacht and a boat so they could live in that area and conduct a study of the population. "From visual observations the dolphins are spending much more time socializing, splashing around on the surface, quite a bit of foreplay, quite a bit of sex. Hong Kong dolphins normally live on the edges, they’re stressed, they spend their time eating and resting. So to see them playing … to see them having a good time, that was really great to see," she added.
The research team was able to drop underwater recording stations in those ferry lanes, and they intend to compare the vocalizations from the pre-COVID and now. WWF, Hong Kong said they believe there were about 2,500 dolphins in the estuary.
A pink dolphin was also seen in Louisiana and the creature's photos went viral. The dolphin called Pinky was seen in Louisiana's Calcasieu Ship Channel, according to Pop Sugar. The creature was first seen a decade ago with her mother, who was not pink. In August, the marine animal was seen by many people and they also claimed that a second pink dolphin was visible.
These are not the only creatures who have adapted swiftly to this welcome change. In South Africa, lions were seen lazing in the middle of the road at Kruger National Park. The photographer, Section Ranger Richard Sowry, had captured this image. The national park shared the images on their Twitter account in April. "This lion pride is usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp," the park had informed.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
📸Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
In California’s Yosemite National Park, black bears were seen in multiple places where they usually don't go. The park had shared a video of a bear climbing a tree next to ranger housing, which was highly unusual. “It’s not like they aren’t usually here,” Dane Peterson, who works at the park’s Ahwahnee Hotel, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”
Yosemite National Park is home to about 300-500 black bears. Though there hasn't been an increase in their population since the park closure, bears have been seen more frequently than usual. Check out this bear caught on camera yesterday, climbing a tree next to ranger housing! pic.twitter.com/9rXxIOMRbR— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) April 14, 2020