Ocean Park Hong Kong
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BEIJING "CHINESE STURGEON FAREWELL CEREMONY" TRIP FOR OCEAN PARK HONG KONG CALL TO UNITE TO HELP DISASTER RELIEF BY OCEAN PARK & THREE BEIJING AQUARIUMS

2008-05-19

(HONG KONG - 19 May 2008) An Ocean Park contingent, led by the Park's Chief Executive, Tom Mehrmann, attended the "Chinese Sturgeons Farewell Ceremony” at Beijing Aquarium today, to take delivery of three of the five Chinese Sturgeons presented to Ocean Park Hong Kong by Mainland's National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association of the Wildlife Conservation Association. Beijing Aquarium becomes a conservation partner of Ocean Park Hong Kong. Close to 600 guests, including 400 primary school students, were present at the Ceremony to bid farewell to the national treasures.

At the function, a plea to all aquarium facilities in the Mainland to donate funds to help with earthquake disaster relief was made, with Ocean Park and three Beijing facilities (Beijing Aquarium, Beijing Tai Ping Yang Underwater World , and Blue Zoo Beijing) making pledges. On the other hand, these four aquariums observed a one-minute silence at the function, to express their deep condolences to those who died in the serious earthquake in Sichuan. Ocean Park Hong Kong also observed a three-minute silence in mourning from 2.28pm today and flags at the Park would be flown at half mast from today (19 May) to Wednesday (21 May).

A Chinese calligraphy scroll and a Chinese Sturgeon seal, symbolizing the close collaboration among Ocean Park and related facilities to protect and preserve Chinese Sturgeons, were presented to Mr. Mehrmann by the Chairman of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, Mr. Li Yan Liang, the Vice Chairman of Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Mr. Zhang Xian Liang, and the General Manager of Beijing Aquarium, Mr. Hu Wei Yong.

Mr. Mehrmann said, "We are pleased to be invited to today's function to take delivery of three Chinese Sturgeons, and we want to thank all the parties that made the gift of these national treasures possible. We'd also like to show our respect to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Aquatic Wild Fauna and Flora Administrative Office, Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Beijing Aquarium, and Municipal Station of Fisheries Supervision and Management for their achievements in the protection and breeding of Chinese Sturgeons."

He continued, "We feel very honoured to be bestowed the role of caregivers for our national treasures including the giant pandas, and now, the Chinese Sturgeons. We pledge to provide the best care for all our animals, and we look forward to closer cooperation with Beijing Aquarium in promoting awareness on aquatic wildlife preservation."

The five Chinese Sturgeons presented to Hong Kong, symbolizing the five Olympic rings, were all offsprings of the first generation of Chinese Sturgeons bred by the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute. The three selected from Beijing Aquarium measure close to 1.5 metres in length. The two big ones, measuring over two metres, were selected from the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute. These two Chinese Sturgeons have already arrived at Ocean Park from Xiamen on 13 May. All Chinese Sturgeons will undergo a month-long quarantine at Ocean Park and will make their public debut at the Park's Atoll Reef on 20 June.

Currently, Ocean Park is busy decking Atoll Reef with new elements featuring Chinese Sturgeons icons and educational panels. The Park is also working on a Chinese Sturgeon page on its Ocean Park website. Initiatives to engage the public through educational interactive games will also roll out shortly.

"Ocean Park is very excited about the coming summer with a host of unique and fabulous wet and wild activities. With these new members from Beijing and Xiamen, along with our resident animal ambassadors, Ocean Park will surely be a must-see spot for all in the family," Mr. Mehrmann said.

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Glossary of Relevant Organisations

National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association

The National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association is devoted to raise public awareness on the conservation of nature.

The Association also facilitates the collaboration between aquatic wildlife associations in China and overseas on the preservation of aquatic wildlife.

Beijing Aquarium

Beijing Aquarium is one of the world's largest inland aquariums. There are seven exhibition halls in the Aquarium: “Rainforest Adventure” , “Tidal Encounter” , “Wonders of Coral Reefs” , “Shark Wharf”, “Rare Chinese Sturgeon Hall”, “Whales and Globefish Gulf”, and “Marine Mammal Pavilion”.

About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique homegrown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 85 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation. Part of the proceeds from the Ocean Park admission tickets and some retail items will go to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong to support its wildlife conservation projects.

Photo 1: (From left to right) Mr. Chen Xu Wu, Mr. Matthias Li, Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Ms Maggie Chang, Mr Kang Lei and Mr. Hu Wei Yong present their cheques to donate funds to help with earthquake disaster relief.
Photo 1: (From left to right) Mr. Chen Xu Wu, Mr. Matthias Li, Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Ms Maggie Chang, Mr Kang Lei and Mr. Hu Wei Yong present their cheques to donate funds to help with earthquake disaster relief.
Photo 2: A Chinese calligraphy scroll and a Chinese Sturgeon seal, symbolizing the close collaboration among Ocean Park and related facilities to protect and preserve Chinese Sturgeons, were presented to the management team of Ocean Park.
Photo 2: A Chinese calligraphy scroll and a Chinese Sturgeon seal, symbolizing the close collaboration among Ocean Park and related facilities to protect and preserve Chinese Sturgeons, were presented to the management team of Ocean Park.