CAN CHINA’S PINK DOLPHIN SURVIVE?
(P1) CONSERVATIONISTS have warned that projects to expand Hong Kong’s airport and build a new bridge to MACAU could result in the loss of the city’s BELOVED “pink” dolphins.
(P2) Dolphin numbers have declined sharply in Hong Kong HARBOR over the past few decades, and conservationists fear that the LARGE-SCALE construction work will DRIVE THE DOLPHINS AWAY FOR GOOD.
(P3) The Chinese white dolphin – popularly known as the pink dolphin due to its pale pink coloring – draws many tourists daily to the waters north of Hong Kong’s Lantau Island.
(P4) It became Hong Kong’s official MASCOT in 1997. But despite the AFFECTION felt towards the dolphin, there may soon be none left.
(P5) The proposed construction of a third runway at Hong Kong’s busy airport could be THE FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN.
(P6) “We think that if that project GOES AHEAD, then it will probably drive the dolphin away from Hong Kong waters,” said Samuel Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, who has been going out to sea at least twice a week to observe dolphin activity for almost 20 years.
(P7) “In some ways it seems like we are pushing them closer and closer to THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF and if we’re making that final push, they will be gone forever. I think now is the time to GET OUR ACT TOGETHER.”
(P8) Hung says there are only around 60 dolphins left in Hong Kong waters – a drop from 158 in 2003.
(P9) “The dolphin decline is caused by a number of factors, including fishing and environmental pollution… but I think the major contribution is coming from the increase of high-speed FERRY traffic,” Hung said.
(P10) The dolphins have either gone to neighbouring Chinese waters or may have died off, he said.
(P11) Dolphin HABITATS have already been affected by the ONGOING construction of a 50km bridge connecting Hong Kong to the ENCLAVE of Macau.
(P12) The bridge LOOMS on the HORIZON behind the village of Tai O, on the western tip of Lantau Island, where dozens of dolphin tours go out daily.
(P13) VOLUNTEERS on the dolphin-spotting boats tell tourists about the problems the animals are facing.
(P14) “POLLUTION is quite serious in the air and water… We worry about the MARINE life being affected,” said Hong Kong bank worker Yeung Ka-yan, 30, after taking a short boat trip.
(P15) “We were a little disappointed,” added her boyfriend, a 26-year-old chef from Taiwan, after failing to spot any dolphins – which could become all too common in the years.
(P16) Dolphin-watching ACCOUNTS FOR 10 % of Tai O’s tourism business.
(P17) “We don’t know whether the dolphin can hang on and survive,” Hung said.
(P18) “We have been following some of them for nearly 20 years so they are our old friends.”
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Have you ever gone dolphin-watching or whale-watching, or seen a dolphin show at an AQUARIUM?
- Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals. What animals do you think are really smart?
- Is there an animal SPECIES that is strongly identified with your country?
- What ATTRACTIONS bring tourists to your area?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Drive away
- For good
- Nail in the coffin
- Go ahead
- Edge of the cliff
- Get our act together
- Account for