By Opalyn Mok
GEORGE TOWN, Oct 17 — The sight of dolphins frolicking in the sea never ceases to amaze people and even more so when a school of dolphins is captured on video swimming off the coast of Penang.
A short video clip of a school of dolphins swimming off the coast near the second Penang Bridge was uploaded on Facebook by user Kai Hong and it has since been widely shared on the social networking site as well as blogs.
The Penang state government also noticed and played the short video clip, which was captured a few days ago, at the start of a press conference by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“We just want to start this press conference with this short clip of dolphins swimming in our seas near the second bridge,” Lim said.
He added the sight of dolphins swimming in Penang waters could be a sign that they are clean enough to attract these playful creatures.
According to Malaysian Nature Society Penang branch advisor Kanda Kumar, it is not unusual to see dolphins swimming off the coast of Penang.
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“Bottlenose dolphins (picture) have been known to swim across our Penang northern channel all the time but they were not noticed because they did not surface,” he said. He said it is quite normal for the dolphins to swim across the channel once or twice a week.
As for whether this means there are more dolphins now in Penang waters, Kanda said no proper study or research has been done to determine this.
“We don’t know how many dolphins there were here previously and we don’t know how many are there now as there was no proper research done,” he said.
Dolphin sightings off the coast of Penang used to be quite common more than two decades ago but these sightings have dwindled over the years.
In the past two years, however, dolphin sightings have started cropping up again and in recent months, a few dead dolphins also have washed ashore.
Kanda attributed the increase in dolphin sightings, especially around the second bridge, to more people frequenting that area due to ongoing construction works.
“The dolphins probably swim past there all the time but previously, nobody was there to notice them and now that there are more people going out to sea on that side, then there are more sightings,” he said.
He added that bottlenose dolphins are the most common type of dolphin and that they can survive in murky sea waters so their presence does not necessarily mean that Penang waters are clean.
“Still, it is good that they are surfacing and catching more attention as dolphins are really great attractions,” he said.