Friday, 14 June 2013
My name is Danielle and I am one of the new interns here at HKDCS! My internship here in Hong Kong will help give me the credit I need to complete my Master’s degree in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) back at home in Montreal, Canada. I decided to apply for this internship as it perfectly integrates my passion for marine mammals with my academic interest in the EIA process. Here in HK there are so many on-going coastal development projects that it is amazing the dolphins and porpoises can survive in this environment. With all this development, it is imperative that the EIA system is applied properly in order to protect their habitat and conserve their populations.
I’ve been here for approximately one month so far and I am amazed with how much I’ve learned in that short amount of time! I’ve learned how line-transect surveys are done in relation to cetacean research, how theodolite technology can be applied to track dolphins and their behavior, and finally I’ve learned about the different sorts of human disturbances that are currently threatening these cetaceans. Every day I learn something different, so it keeps the work very stimulating and very exciting!
The first time I spotted a dolphin was actually on my very first boat outing! I was amazed by their beauty and also by their size! The first time I saw a mother-calf pair was also quite special – it’s heart-warming how the calf stays so close to his mother! Finally, the elusive finless porpoise is always so exciting to spot. I haven’t yet had a very good sighting of one (just a quick glimpse) so I’m very excited to go back out on a porpoise survey!
Although, there is so much beauty here with these amazing creatures there are also many human disturbances that are affecting them as well. The day I saw a dead calf was a very sad day indeed! It was also very scary when I saw a dolphin inside a fishing net! Luckily he managed to find a way out and escaped!
As beautiful as these creatures are they definitely need our help in face of all the threats they deal with. Interning here at the HKDCS has taught me so much and has given me a huge appreciation for conservation scientists. The staff here who work at HKDCS are wonderful people who really care a lot about cetaceans! I feel immensely lucky to not only be working with the dolphins and porpoises this summer, but also the great staff here at HKDCS as well!
As I learn more and more this summer I’ll be sure to write again and update you all on the amazing experiences!
That’s it for now,
Posted by Danielle Marcotte