WWF launches Tai O Dolphin Watching Interpreter Pilot Programme | WWF Hong Kong

WWF launches Tai O Dolphin Watching Interpreter Pilot Programme

18 August 2015

In July,WWF-Hong Kong launched a unique four-month-long project: the “Tai O Dolphin Watching Interpreter Pilot Programme”.Running from July until the end of October 2015,the project aims to raise public awareness of the importance of conserving Chinese white dolphins and of Tai O’s unique fishing village culture.The programme is being delivered by 20 universitystudents who have been trained as interpreters and equipped with knowledge on the conservation and ecology of the dolphins and the culture of Tai O.Every weekend during the said period, the interpreters provide services to visitors on dolphin-watchingtrips run by the four participating Tai O-based tour operators.Visitors only pay the dolphin watching tour fee(determined by each operator) – the interpretation services do not incur any extra charges.In July 2015,WWF’s interpreters served on 250 boat trips, benefitting an estimated 3,500 visitors. 
Holidaymakers who visit Tai O often join dolphin watching trips and tours around the fishing village’s famous stilt houses.Most visitors are unaware that Hong Kong’s Chinese white dolphins, which mainly reside in the western waters near Tai O, are in peril due to multiple development projects which include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), and other threats like hectic marine traffic, water pollution and marine litter. After six months of preparation and engagement with the tour operators, WWF is certain that our new programme will help visitors better understand the threats faced by the Chinese white dolphins by witnessing them first hand. 
The four participating tour operators are:Tai O Boat Excursion Limited,Tai O Tak Hung Travel Company Limited,Tai O Water Village Travel Company and Hoito Yacht Service.At these companies’ ticket booths,visitors can obtain information on the programme and WWF’s conservation work,and purchase tickets.WWF’s interpreters will be found in these locations, and are highly visible in their “Dolphins, I care!” t-shirts. 
Below are further details about the programme: 
Location: Near the Tai O Market Street Footbridge 
Date: July to October 2015 (Every Saturday and Sunday) 
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Introduce the programme and on-board safety regulations, 
  • Introduce the history and key sightseeing spots of Tai O while travelling along the Tai O river, 
  • Head seawards in search of Chinese white dolphins. If there is a sighting, the operator will slow or stop the vessel and allow visitors to observe the dolphins at a respectful distance which will not disrupt their activities, 
  • Explain WWF’s marine conservation work, the ecology of the Chinese white dolphin and the threats they face. 
Language: Cantonese, English and Mandarin  
Fare: The interpretation service provided by WWF is free of charge; each boat trip costs HK$20-25 per passenger, the fare is determined by the individual operators 
Enquiries: wwf@wwf.org.hk (by email) 
Tai O makes a perfect family weekend getaway destination. Come enjoy the landscape and culture of this old fishing village, then try to spot Chinese white dolphins and learn about how to conserve them!