A rare Chinese white dolphin, also known as the “giant panda of the sea”, was spotted in the waters of Quanzhou Bay of east China’s Fujian Province recently. The aquatic mammals are under first-class state protection in China. Local residents unexpectedly spotted the rare sea creature swimming around the bay and shot video of it.

Pan Wenshi, a professor at the School of Life Sciences, Peking University said from 2004 to 2006, the Chinese white dolphin population was numbered at fewer than 100. Pan said that the number has since grown to 220. Their numbers are seen as an indicator of measuring the marine environment as white dolphins are sensitive to water quality.

Fishermen in Fujian Province, Hong Kong and Taiwan honor the white dolphin as Goddess Matsu’s fish, worshiping them as sea gods.

30 years ago, many local fishermen believed the white dolphin had gone extinct. But with more and more sightings, residents say, “They haven’t forgot the hometown and the way of backing home.”

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