(March 8, 2015, Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s first-ever “RUN FOR SURVIVAL” charity run organised by Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), a leading conservation advocate, kicked off at Cyberport today to raise public awareness on marine and biodiversity conservation. Celebrating this creative initiative, Ms. Zhang Yining, award-winning Chinese table tennis player, Ms. Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK, Ms. Suki Chui, Ms. Cara. G, Dr. Leung Siu-fai, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park cum OPCFHK Trustee, were invited to present awards and promote conservation at the ceremony.
In this unconventional fun run, participants assumed the role of either a Marine Animal struggling for survival, or a Conservationist taking the responsibility for protecting Marine Animals. They had to overcome various dangers and obstacles, such as the marine debris, fishing nets and the Ocean Killers, in order to reach the Marine Reserve 6.6 km away. In appreciation of their support to marine conservation, OPCFHK presented different awards and prizes, including the male and female “Super-speed Marine Animal”, “Super-speed Conservationist”, “Top Fundraisers” and “Best Dressed Award”, to the winners after the exciting race.
At the award presentation ceremony, Ms. Chen elaborated on the significance of the charitable event and said, “OPCFHK has been supporting scientific research, education and conservation projects across Asia, and playing an important role in conserving local species over the years. For instance, we established and has been managing the only Cetacean Stranding Response Team in Hong Kong, organising the 5th consecutive year of ‘Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Rearing Programme”, and have started the reef fish survey last year. We hope the first-ever ‘RUN FOR SURVIVAL’ can allow the public to experience and understand the importance of marine conservation from a first-hand perspective, and realize the damage caused by marine debris, overfishing and pollution. I am pleased to see the enthusiastic response from over a thousand professional and amateur runners, as well as families and corporates, which made the event a huge success.”
Chinese table tennis player Ms. Zhang Yining, who won four Olympic golds, was impressed by the creative concepts of “RUN FOR SURVIVAL”, said, “The idea of combining charity, sports and marine conservation is fun and creative. I look forward to a game combining table tennis and conservation, hence to spread the conservation message to the world’s Chinese communities through the sport.” She and Ms. Judy Chen then presented “Top Fundraiser” and “Super-speed Marine Animal (Male)” awards to the winners.
Ms. Suki Chui also lent her support to the occasion as the special guest. As a mother of three daughters, she shared her advice on educating her children to protect the oceans, “As a parent, I believe it’s important to educate our next generation to care for the nature. I shared with my girls how marine debris is affecting the marine eco-system, for instance, fish and seabirds may swallow such pieces of trash. I am glad that they will now initiate to clean the beach, as they all love animals.” Ms. Chui then put a “big cross” over the “Marine Debris” and urged the public to join coastal cleanup activities proactively.
Honored to partner with OPCFHK, Cara. G wished to be her own daughter’s role model in protecting our oceans. She said, “The seafood consumption per capita in Hong Kong is the second highest in Asia. Due to overfishing, many marine animals like the Hong Kong grouper and seahorses have seen a significant drop in numbers. Scientists predicted that major global commercial fisheries could collapse by 2048! My daughter and I are both vegetarians, I hope she will insist and not to consume any threatened species in the future.” Cara. G then took away a badge from an Ocean Killer to demonstrate her determination in marine conservation.
In order to attract both professional and amateur runners, participants can choose to support under the “Individual Time Challenge Group” or the “Fun Run Group” which allowed runners to enjoy the race without time pressure. Participants who successfully completed the mission also received a “Survivor Certificate” or “Conservation Hero Certificate”, while the rest received a “Certificate of Completion” in appreciation of their support for marine conservation. The funds raised will be used to support OPCFHK’s Asian wildlife conservation efforts.