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Stranded whale may halt traffic in Hong Kong harbor

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The Hong Kong Marine Department has warned that maritime traffic in Victoria Harbor, in the center of the southern Chinese city, could be halted to prevent harm to a stranded whale, the South China Morning Post said on Friday.

The 10-meter humpbacked whale first surfaced in Hong Kong’s busy shipping lanes on March 16. This is the first time a whale has appeared in the city’s waters and scientists believe it got lost while on its migration north from the tropical waters where it spent the winter.

Meanwhile, the number of sightseers taking to the water for a closer look at the creature is increasing every day. The Marine Department has urged captains to be careful when navigating their vessels in Victoria Harbor so as not disturb the animal and enable it to find its way back to the open ocean.

Ecologists hope that the humpback, which appears healthy, will find its way out of Hong Kong’s waters, but concerns are growing for its safety after it appeared to be surfacing less frequently, usually a sign that a whale is unwell.

Scientists say that high levels of water traffic can disturb a whale, causing it to become disoriented.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department warned on Thursday people are to be fined $ 13,000 for disturbing the animal. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

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