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AMAZING ASIAN ANIMALS NOW OPEN AT OCEAN PARK

2009-04-30

HUNDREDS OF RARE ASIAN ANIMALS BEGIN NEW CHAPTER OF CONSERVATION STORIES

OCEAN PARK CONSERVATION FOUNDATION, HONG KONG LAUNCHES
LIMITED EDITION RED PANDA STAMP PACK TO SUPPORT GIANT PANDA BASE EARTHQUAKE RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT

(30 April 2009, Hong Kong)Amazing Asian Animals – the first new animal and edu-tainment area to be completed under Ocean Park’s HK$5.55 billion Master Redevelopment Project – officially opened its doors to the world today and wowed guests with its unique line-up of rare Asian animals. The Chair of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK), Ms. Judy Chen, and Panda Caring Ambassador for OPCFHK, Mr. Leon Lai, together hosted the opening ceremony for Amazing Asian Animals and launched a limited edition Red Panda Stamp Pack*. Proceeds from stamp sales will help raise funds for earthquake reconstruction of giant panda habitats in Sichuan province in China.

Amazing Asian Animals has become the talk of the town since the arrival of the first red pandas in Hong Kong last month. A rare species, red pandas are called Ailurus fulgens in Latin, meaning “fire-coloured cat”, on account of its eye-catching russet fur. The four adorable red pandas from Sichuan – Rou Rou, Cong Cong, Tai Shan and Li Zi – are animal ambassadors for Ocean Park together with giant pandas An An, Jia Jia, Ying Ying and Le Le, and the Chinese salamander, the Asian small-clawed otters and the Chinese alligators, to help spread conservation messages to Park guests from Hong Kong and the world.

Ms. Chen said, “ Ocean Park is truly one of a kind, in terms of providing education, conservation and entertainment in a fun and exciting way, while bringing guests closer to nature. Guests can come and be impressed by the many animals living at Amazing Asian Animals, and tolearn about their different characteristics, habitats and diets. The habitats of our beloved giant pandas and red pandas in Sichuan have been affected by human encroachment and earthquake destruction, leaving many of these precious animals homeless. The reconstruction of their habitats has therefore become critical. Through the opening of Amazing Asian Animals, we hope to inspire all to respect nature, so that rare and precious animals and their habitats can be protected.”

Home to over hundreds of rare Asian animals, the 25,000m² Amazing Asian Animals is the world’s first and only integrated indoor and outdoor multi-Asian-species exhibit. Its flagship facility, Giant Panda Adventure, is Hong Kong’s first and only translucent building with an ETFE ( ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) exterior .

Chief Executive of Ocean Park, and Trustee of OPCFHK, Mr. Tom Mehrmann said, “Education and conservation have always been the cornerstone of Ocean Park’s mandate, and the opening of Amazing Asian Animals signifies not only a major milestone in the progress made in our Master Redevelopment Project – but more importantly, the new area enables us to take interactive learning about conservation to a whole new level. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding for the loan of four lovable red pandas, as well as for their technical guidance, including sending an expert to Hong Kong. We look forward to our continued collaboration on conservation efforts.”

He cited the daily “Animal Fun Talks” hosted by educational ambassadors who will share fun and interesting animal facts; back-of-the-house tours, allowing guests to understand more about the animals’ day-to-day lives; and new state-of-the-art classrooms for more educational and conservation programmes .

To commemorate the red pandas’ arrival to Hong Kong, OPCFHK specially launched a limited edition Red Panda Stamp Pack. Part of the proceeds will go to OPCFHK’s “Giant Panda Base Rebuilding Fund” in support of reconstruction work in areas devastated by last year’s earthquake in Sichuan. The s tamp sheet comprises 16 stamps entitled “Care and Love”, and the face value of each stamp is HK$1.40. It also comes with four red panda magnets and eight Ocean Park discount coupons for admission and for purchase of retail and food & beverage products. There are only 1,500 packs produced, with each pack retailing at HK$129, and will be available only from the shops at Ocean Park, and online from Hong Kong Post website www.shopthrupost.hk starting from 30 April, while stocks last.

OPCFHK also appointed Mr. Leon Lai as its Panda Caring Ambassador, in recognition of his contribution to panda habitat rebuilding efforts.

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