A humpback whale has strayed into Hong Kong waters for the first time and its presence has stirred up plenty of excitement.
Conservationists are now worried that over-enthusiastic people, trying to catch a glimpse of the whale, could harm the gentle giant.
The 10-metre whale was first seen on Monday, swimming around the East Lamma Channel. Conservationist Samuel Hung has since been helping the government monitor the marine mammal.
Mr Hung, who is the chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said: “We know that humpback whales do migrate to our region, but we never thought it would come that close to Hong Kong. So we were very surprised and excited.”
He believes it could have been separated from a pod of whales which were migrating to the Arctic during the summer.
The Marine Department has warned ships in the channel to watch out for the whale, but it has not stopped numerous people from trying to sail out to catch a glimpse of the gentle giant.
“We worry that the boat engines from all these sightseeing boats or even from fishing boats could disturb the whale with their low-frequency noises. That may make the animal more confused, decreasing its chance to get back to open waters,” said Mr Hung.
For now, the whale appears to be heading in the right direction and hopefully, it will find its way back and reunite with its group.