The 21st Ocean Park Conservation Day Complimentary Guided Tours to Visit the Critically Endangered Blue-crowned Laughingthrush Workshops and Educational Game Booths Promoting Biodiversity and Green Lifestyles
Ocean Park and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) will celebrate the 21st Ocean Park Conservation Day on 19 and 20 March. Presented under the theme of BiodiversityFiesta, this year’s event aims to enhance the public’s understanding of the concept of biodiversity, highlighted by the importance of conserving endangered species. Guests in the Park can join complimentary tours for a docent-led appreciation of trees and birds, including the critically endangered blue-crowned laughingthrush, a bird found in China. Through a variety of booths, games and activities, the public can meet horseshoe crabs and learn how to help with their conservation; discover the impact of threats faced by dolphins and other wildlife; be inspired to adopt a greener lifestyle; as well as try their hands in creating potted plants and eco-friendly tote bags; and more.
Ms. Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK, said, “Ocean Park Conservation Day has become an important platform of public education in Hong Kong. Our focus this year is to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity through displays and workshops. We are also collaborating with Ocean Park on docent-led tours for the public to learn more about different trees and birds. Birdwatching enthusiasts may want to bring along their binoculars for this unique experience. Through game booths, the public will also be inspired to adopt a greener lifestyle by making smart decisions on what they buy, eat and use. Guests visiting on 19 March not only can enjoy these special programmes in addition to all of Ocean Park’s attractions, the entire ticket price will be donated to OPCFHK in support of our conservation work, making the visit to Ocean Park extra meaningful.”
This year’s Ocean Park Conservation Day will feature complimentary Emerald Trail Discovery Tours, in which guests can learn about trees and birds along the Emerald Trail with narration by specialists. A highlight of the tour is the critically endangered blue-crowned laughingthrush, whose population in Yunnan have been wiped out due to exploitation for the bird trade in the past, leaving behind only the population in Jiangxi. As their habitats are encroached and destroyed by urban development, there are less than 300 individuals left in the wild as of 2015. In an effort to help develop an effective conservation plan for this species, OPCFHK has funded research on this endangered species’ breeding behaviour and winter migration patterns, as well as partnered with the Park to establish an assurance population for future reintroduction to secure habitats. Besides the blue-crowned laughingthrush, guests joining the tour can also keep an eye out for more than 15 species of wild birds, including the beautiful red-billed blue magpie.
From a series of game booths, guests will learn how to Buy Smart, Eat Smart andUse Smart in helping save the ocean and marine wildlife. Key tips include: choose eco-friendly sunscreens, natural facial scrubs, and biodegradable shampoos to help minimise marine pollution; consume sustainable seafood to help combat overfishing; use less plastic products such as drinking straws, and say no to disposable utensils to help reduce marine debris. To show their support for marine conservation, guests interested in face painting can choose among five marine animal designs: seahorse, horseshoe crab, Chinese white dolphin, finless porpoise and coral.
OPCFHK has been leading efforts to conserve horseshoe crabs through initiatives such as the Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Rearing Programme, where local students help rear juvenile horseshoe crabs at their schools for eventual release into their natural habitats. At the Meeting the Living Fossils workshop, local students who took part in the programme will be joined by students from Guangxi with similar experience to host games and explain horseshoe crab’s biology and conservation status. Horseshoe crab fossils dating back over 400 million years will be on display along with juvenile horseshoe crab models.
Through its University Student Sponsorship Programme, OPCFHK has been providing local students with valuable conservation fieldwork opportunities across Asia over the past 11 years. At the Be A Conservationist workshop, guests will learn about their challenges and meaningful lessons through wonderful images and videos. They will get a taste of fieldwork through different games. The workshop also offers an opportunity to learn about research methods and techniques involved in studying dolphins and Chinese crested terns.
During Conservation Day, guests who choose to become a member of OPCFHK’s Friends of the Foundation can join the Green Potting DIY workshop to learn how to use recycled glass bottles, soil and decorations to create unique potting that they can take home. Guests can also join the Old T-shirt Upcycling workshop and try to turn an old T-shirt into an eco-friendly tote bag. Those who bring their old T-shirts can join this workshop for free.
Ms. Chen concluded, “We look forward to welcoming everyone joining us during Ocean Park Conservation Day for a meaningful way to contribute to conservation while learning about biodiversity, green lifestyle choices and more through fun and games.”