Celebrating Leadership of Ocean Park and OPCFHK in Wildlife Conservation in Asia through 20-year Collaboration
18th Annual Ocean Park Conservation Day
Celebrating Leadership of Ocean Park and OPCFHK in Wildlife Conservation in
Asia through 20-year Collaboration
Ocean Park Donated HK$10 Million Last Year; Cumulative Donation Nearly HK$57 Million
OPCFHK Committed HK$6 Million This Year to Fund 45 Projects Involving 25 Species
(12 January, 2013 - Hong Kong) Ocean Park and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) today co-hosted the 18th annual Ocean Park Conservation Day, celebrating 20 years of close collaboration to advance the cause of conservation. The event was attended by Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park; Ms Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK; Ms Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment, and celebrity Mr. Ekin Cheng. As part of today’s event, park guests can enjoy a photo exhibition on underwater beauty and seahorses in Hong Kong, as well as a handicraft workshop on making seahorse-themed souvenirs.
Dr. Zeman said, “The success of our HK$5.55 billion Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP) has allowed us to more than double our donation to OPCFHK over the past six years, reaching a record high of HK$10 million for 2010/11. We also continue to share staff time, office space and animal necropsy facility in support of the Foundation. As conservation is a major pillar of Ocean Park’s mission, we are proud to be recognised by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as the leading funder of wildlife conservation among Asian zoological facilities. By providing space for OPCFHK to install donation kiosks, we have also helped them raise an additional HK$2.3 million since 2005.”
Ms Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK, said, “The Foundation is grateful to Ocean Park’s support of conservation through its donation of nearly HK$57 million since 2005 and helping us raise additional funds from the public. Our work also benefited greatly from having access to Ocean Park resources and facilities. Thanks to the support of Ocean Park and donations from the public, we were able to support 290 worthy projects concerning 53 species in 18 Asian countries. Our University Student Sponsorship Programme has nurtured a new generation of conservationists by providing 215 students to-date with conservation fieldwork experience. For the 2012/13 fiscal year, we have committed over HK$6 million to support 45 projects involving 25 species.”
Ms Chen added, “In addition to funding research across Asia, the Foundation also actively participates in conservation work. As part of our collaboration with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), our Stranding Response Team attended to 36 cases in 2012.” The Stranding Response Team was formed by OPCFHK in 2006 to respond to cases of suspected cetacean stranding reported to AFCD.
Environment Under Secretary Ms Christine Loh said “Conservation is a task that requires community-wide participation. Over the past 20 years, Ocean Park and OPCFHK have played a critical role in raising awareness and committing much needed resources to help enhance our knowledge and achieve results in different habitats across Asia. Equally important, they have set an excellent example for the entire community and beyond.”
Ocean Park and OPCFHK have been supporting Government’s conservation programmes for local wildlife over the years, including last summer’s plastic pellet spillage incident, dolphin stranding investigation programme, monkey contraceptive programme, rehabilitation of rescued sea turtles and confiscated aquatic fishes, as well as breeding programmes for endangered Romer’s TreeFrog (Liuixalus romeri) and Hong Kong Newt, (Paramesotriton hongkongensis) for the species preservation.
To promote awareness of its recently completed seahorse survey and a new seahorse tagging initiative, the first ever in Hong Kong, OPCFHK engaged local celebrity and diving enthusiast Mr. Ekin Cheng to film a public information video, which features footage of Cheng in a diving suit measuring a seahorse in local waters. Mr. Cheng said, “Local diving fans can help conserve seahorses by reporting their sighting of seahorses to OPCFHK. I also encourage everyone to help conserve marine life and habitats by adopting a ‘no touch and no take’ approach when diving.”
Kenny Lau, a local painting prodigy and strong supporter of conservation, today presented a seahorse-themed painting to Mr. Cheng on behalf of OPCFHK in appreciation of his support of seahorse conservation.
In addition, the Foundation has solicited two conservation partners. Yahoo! Hong Kong, this year’s Conservation Day “Online Conservation Partner”, helped promoting the event and contributed their volunteers to support our Conservation Day; Otterbox will launch the limited edition, seahorse-themed phone case worldwide and donate 10% of their sales proceeds of the product in next twelve months.
Ms Chen concluded, “With more and more species and habitats coming under threat, OPCFHK looks forward to working closely with Ocean Park for another twenty more years and beyond in advancing the important cause of conservation.”
As in previous Conservation Day events, Ocean Park has donated today’s entire admission revenue to OPCFHK. Ocean Park also donates to the Foundation a portion of the Park’s admission revenue, panda merchandise sales proceeds and revenue from animal encounter programmes throughout the year.