After attending a guest talk “Unlock The Unnatural – Cetacean Stranding” given by Miss Mandy Lo, Scientific Officer of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK) at College of International Education (CIE) in March 2019, an Environmental Conservation Studies student, Compass, Chan Tsz-nam, was inspired the works done by the OPCFHK Cetacean Stranding Response Team. OPCFHK has kindly offered the opportunity to let Compass to join the Stranding Team to support the work on handling cetacean stranding cases.


Marine mammals are facing serious threats from human beings.

Cetaceans are marine mammals, including the whales, dolphins and porpoises, while stranding usually refers to the phenomenon in which the marine mammals strand themselves on land. When received a report of a stranding case, the Stranding Team will conduct on-site evaluations of the animal, regardless of whether it is alive or dead. The Stranding Team will try to rescue alive animals and investigate the cause of death of the carcasses.


The western waters of Hong Kong is a habitat of Chinese white dolphin.

After joining the Stranding Team for about a year, Compass has participated in more than 20 stranding cases within all cases involved the dead bodies of Chinese white dolphins and finless porpoises. “When the conditions of the carcasses were fine, we would transfer them to the Hong Kong Marine Life Stranding and Education Centre (HKMLSEC) at Ocean Park for necropsy to study the cause of death of the animal,” Compass said. “In some cases, some carcasses were not transportable or already highly decomposed, we would try to collect samples and useful data in the field as far as possible as it is difficult to do direct measurements of these beautiful animals in the wild,” he added.

於加入鯨豚擱淺行動組約一年之間,Compass參與了超過20多宗擱淺個案,全部都涉及中華白海豚和江豚的屍體。 “當屍體狀況良好時,我們會將它們轉移到於海洋公園的香港海洋生物救護及教育中心進行屍檢,以研究該動物的死因。” 他補充說:“有時候,某些屍體可能已無法運輸或已經嚴重腐爛,我們會盡力在現場收集樣本和有用的數據,因為在一般情況下是很難給這美麗的野生動物進行直接的測量”。

Compass (first person from the left) was conducting measurement of a dead body of a Chinese white dolphin.

In Hong Kong waters, marine mammals are facing serious threats from human beings, such as reclamation works, fishing gear entanglement and boat collisions. According to the surveys conducted by the Hong Kong Government, the 2018 population estimate of Chinese white dolphin in Hong Kong has hit a record low of 37, less than half of the 2011 record (AFCD, 2019). Compass said: “When I was a kid, my dad would take me to watch dolphins in Tai O and I was amazed by these fascinating animals. Through my participation in the stranding investigation work and my study at CIE, I become even more motivated in nature conservation for saving those treasured and threatened species in Hong Kong.”

在香港水域,海洋哺乳動物正面臨著人類帶來的嚴重威脅,例如填海工程,漁具糾纏和船隻相撞等等。 根據香港政府進行的調查發現,2018年在香港生活的中華白海豚數目創下歷史新低的37隻,數目不到2011年所記錄的一半 (AFCD, 2019)。 Compass說: “在我小時候,父親會帶我去大澳看海豚,能接觸這些迷人的動物實在令人感動和讚嘆。 透過這次參與擱淺調查工作和在國際學院的學習,我會更加積極地從事自然保護工作,以拯救香港那些珍貴和受威脅的物種。”