We reached out to our Jackson Wild Media Awards filmmakers to ask them five questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Director/Producer Daphne Wong: The Chinese White Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) has been living in the waters of Hong Kong for hundreds of years. The dolphin, which is in fact pink in appearance, is nicknamed ‘Panda of the Sea’, due to its rarity and friendliness. Despite being chosen as the handover mascot in 1997 when Britain returned the region to China, the Chinese White Dolphin’s fate is not auspicious at all. Their numbers have plunged 80% since 2003, leaving only 32 of their kind in Hong Kong's waters. They are facing multiple threats, including habitat loss due to coastal development, water pollution, and danger of collision with vessels. This film is about their plight and hopes to raise awareness for the endangered cetacean.
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share?
DW: With fewer and fewer dolphins and harsher living conditions in Hong Kong, stable encounters with dolphins are hard to come by. The most memorable experience I had whilst filming was when 15 dolphins surrounded the research vessel, circling the boat and breaching next to us. We had half an hour with this superpod before we had to head back to port before the sun sets.
Any fun facts about the film/program, the subject matter or the production crew that might surprise the audience?
DW: Despite its name, the Chinese White Dolphin is often referred to as the pink dolphin due to their pink coloration in appearance. Baby calves are dark grey in colour, which would eventually fade into light grey and into spots. These spots fade as they approach adulthood, and they become fully white (or rather, pink). Their pinkness is prominent due to a network of blood vessels near the skin’s surface, which was thought to have been developed for temperature regulation.
How can audience members take action to help the cause or issue featured in this film?
DW: The Chinese White Dolphins in Hong Kong have now reached a critical juncture. If they are not given enough room to breathe and regenerate in the near future, the city’s mascot would eventually fade away and become part of history. Audience members can help by supporting the 'Dolphin30: Saving the Handover Mascot' campaign. The Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society is petitioning for a large and connected marine park as a shelter for the remaining dolphins, and the re-route of high-speed ferries to better protect and to relieve the stress on the dolphins.