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The 16th Ocean Park Conservation Day Heralds a New Chapter in Cross-border Conservation of Cetaceans, Corals and Freshwater Resources
On the occasion of its 16th annual Conservation Day, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), announced the signing of a framework agreement with Guangdong Sea and Rivers Conservation Association (GDSRCA) for a series of important conservation initiatives to strengthen cooperation and sharing of information and experience. This is the first time OPCFHK, one of the most respected conservation advocates in the region, has extended cross-border conservation partnership from government and universities to non-government organization, ushering in a new level of crossborder cooperation in aquatic wildlife and the natural environment.
As a leading conservation organization in the region, GDSRCA coordinates conservation efforts across 21 cities in Guangdong province. Under the framework agreement, OPCFHK will work with GDSRCA to launch cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong on a number of key conservation issues. For instance, the two organizations plan to hold workshops to share experiences of and techniques in rescuing stranded cetaceans. They will also work on consolidating data collected from coral surveys conducted in Hong Kong and Guangdong. As corals are extremely sensitive to their environment, the health of coral populations serves as an important indicator of water quality in the region. This exchange of information will greatly improve the understanding of coral growth in the region and thus provide a stronger foundation for effective conservation strategies.
Ms. Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK, said, “The framework agreement represents the start of a new era of conservation efforts in the region, adding further meaning to our 16th Conservation Day. Given the geographical proximity and economic ties between Guangdong and Hong Kong, our conservation efforts should and must be well coordinated. The framework agreement between OPCFHK and GDSRCA will enable us to work together to preserve our shared
surrounding environment more efficiently and effectively.”
As part of this year’s Conservation Day activities, OPCFHK presented a total of 72 awards to overall and category winners in its inaugural Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Chinese White Dolphin Drawing Competition, the first-ever competition of its kind that is open to the three regions. Response to the competition was overwhelmingly positive, with over 6, 000 entries received. Ms. Chen said, “It was heartening to see students as well as people from all walks of life pour their creativity and love for nature into their works of beauty. Our hope is that all the participants enjoyed taking part in the competition and would continue to inspire the world to conserve wildlife and water resources through action as well as colourful and creative messages.”
Mr. Edward Yau, Secretary for the Environment, said, “Through such activities as games and the drawing competition, today’s Conservation Day promoted the importance of marine conservation, reminding the public, in meaningful yet easy comprehensible ways, that we all have to make an effort to beautify Hong Kong and the entire world. The work of OPCFHK and the conservation efforts of the Hong Kong government are both driven by the same commitment
to treasure Hong Kong’s marine resources.”
Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “OPCFHK is a key part of our commitment to conservation advocacy and Conservation Day has grown to become one of our annual signature events, where the entire sum of today’s admission revenue is donated to OPCFHK to support wildlife conservation. The event also serves as a unique platform for us to involve business corporations in supporting this important cause. We are very grateful to the Hip Shing
Hong Group of Companies for sponsoring this year’s event.“
Mr. David Fong, Managing Director of Hip Shing Hong Group of Companies, said, “Conservation and supporting the younger generation are both core values of our group, guiding our efforts to benefit society and create a better future for next generation. Sponsoring OPCFHK’s Conservation Day event enables us to play a part in the meaningful work of conservation and help nurture the boundless creativity of young people.”
Also on display at Ocean Park until 9 January 2011 as part of this year’s Conservation Day is a giant graffiti painted by a group of young people on a wooden hoarding that stretches a length of 30 metres. Themed on water conservation, the artwork is the result of the sponsorship from Hip Shing Hong Group of Companies and the collaboration between OPCFHK and Aberdeen Kaifong Welfare Association Social Service Centre, which provides important social support services in the community.
About Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong
Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) was established as an independent charity trust, aiming to advocate and participate in the conservation of Asian wildlife and its habitats. Through research and education, we hope to ensure the sustainability of wildlife and biodiversity in Asia.
OPCFHK has allocated over $20 million to fund close to 200 research projects on cetaceans, giant pandas and many other species since its expansion in 2005. We also inspire university students to engage in field work as part of our University Student Sponsorship Programme in Wildlife Conservation.
Photo: Mr. Edward Yau (Right 1 in the back row), Secretary for the Environment of HKSAR, Ms. Judy Chen (Right 2 in the back row), Chair of OPCFHK, Dr. Allan Zeman (Right 3 in the back row), Chairman of Ocean Park, Mr. David Fong (Left 2 in the back row), Managing Director of Hip Shing Hong Group of Companies, Mr. Tom Mehrmann (Left 1 in the front row), Chief Executive of Ocean Park, and Ms. Suzanne Gendron (Left 1 in the back row), Director of OPCFHK, unveiled a 30-metre long outdoor water-themed graffiti created by four young artists. The artwork is the result of the collaboration between OPCFHK, Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Social Service Centre and Hip Sing Hong Group of Companies to promote water conservation amongst youngsters and private corporations.