Hong Kong marine life experts have asked the public to refrain from approaching a whale that was sighted in territory waters on Monday morning. The whale, which has not been identified, was first seen in Deep Water Bay. Videos and images of the cetacean — the group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises — have been circulating online since its initial sighting.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department issued a statement on Monday night revealing that officials spotted the whale after being alerted to its presence in waters off the southern part of Hong Kong Island, but it disappeared before they could get close enough to identify its species.

“Members of the public should not go on boat trips to watch or pursue whales sighted in Hong Kong waters. In case whales are spotted at sea, they should keep a distance of no less than 100 metres, slow down their vessels, and leave as soon as possible. Otherwise, government officers may take enforcement action,” said a government official.

The Bryde’s whale seen in Sai Kung in July and the body of the finless porpoise found near the Central piers in August (© GovHK and @tripperhead via Twitter)

The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, which has been working with the government to identify the whale, said that they later briefly spotted the mammal in Sham Shui Kok at around 6pm on Monday evening. The organisation also urged people not to, “[take] to the waters for a glimpse of the cetacean.”

In mid-July, a Bryde’s whale was seen in Hong Kong in the vicinity of Sai Kung, where it was spotted sporadically for two weeks. However, in early August, its carcass was found and recovered by experts, and its remains were buried near High Island Reservoir West Dam. The cause of the whale’s death has not yet been officially confirmed.

Last month, the body of a finless porpoise was found in the waters near Central pier. According to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, there have been 17 recorded deaths of cetaceans as of May 2023.

See also
Hong Kong Whale Spotted With Propeller Scars On Its Back, Marine Experts Tell Public To Stay Away From Mammal

Header image credits: Social media

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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