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Ocean Park and National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association Enter A New Phase of Collaboration in Yangtze River Conservation and Education

2010-03-23

"Brand new freshwater Yangtze River exhibit featuring Chinese Sturgeons and Other Unique Yangtze River Fish and Wildlife"

(23 March 2010, Hong Kong) Using Hong Kong’s Ocean Park as the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association’s conservation platform for advocating conservation to the world, Ocean Park plans to open the new Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration in June 2010 to display Chinese sturgeons and other unique freshwater species, as well as to highlight the critical need to conserve the dwindling freshwater resource in China and around the world. As Yangtze River is home to Chinese sturgeons and other unique species, through this new exhibit, Ocean Park is stepping up its collaboration with the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association in Yangtze River conservation, research and education.

The multi-million dollar renovation starts with an extensive representation of the natural heritage along Yangtze River displayed outside the new Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration. Greeting the guests as they enter the exhibit is a unique water screen made of water droplets with special lighting effects. As guests venture into the exhibit, they will encounter Chinese sturgeons and other distinctive freshwater species, appearing in Hong Kong for the first time, in an environment simulating their actual habitats along the Yangtze River. Guests may choose to contribute to the conservation efforts of the Yangtze River by making a donation to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation. Through a series of engaging educational programmes and materials, guests will also have the opportunity to learn more about the importance of water conservation.

The ten sturgeons to be displayed in the new exhibit, including three sturgeons that were displayed at Ocean Park in 2008, are currently kept in the Xiamen Chinese Sturgeon Breeding Centre.  They will be joining other unique species, including Chinese suckers, largemouth bronze gudgeons, Chinese spined barbs and white barbel fish, at the new Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration as conservation ambassadors to promote to millions of guests from Hong Kong and all over the world important conservation messages about aquatic life in the Yangtze River.

The conservation collaboration between Ocean Park and the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association in studying the saltwater transition of Chinese Sturgeons has entered a new phase. As Ocean Park’s conservation arm, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) is sponsoring four satellite tracking tags to be attached onto the four Chinese sturgeons that were previously returned to the Xiamen Chinese Sturgeon Breeding Centre to better understand their movements and behaviors while in the ocean.

Mr. Li Yan Liang, Chairman of National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, said “As the cradle of China’s freshwater fish, Yangtze River is key to our country’s ecological biodiversity. To align with China’s approach towards national aquatic wildlife and resource conservation, the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association actively engages in technique exchange and collaborations with external parties to further the conservation of Yangtze River wildlife. Since 2008, we have developed an excellent partnership with Ocean Park in conserving and educating the public about Yangtze wildlife, and have gained  invaluable experience in the preliminary research studies on human-bred Chinese sturgeons. Through this gift of Chinese sturgeons to Ocean Park in support of its Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration, we hope to take advantage of Ocean Park’s excellent platform of resources and facilities to present Chinese sturgeons and other Yangtze fish species to the world. We hope that by raising environmental and conservation awareness among the public, we will move one step closer towards building a beautiful home and environment for us to live in.”

Professor Wei, Director of the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Science, also noted, “This research is an important milestone for the conservation and sustainability of Chinese sturgeons. The data collected will help us understand the natural behaviours and movements of human-bred Chinese sturgeons in the open sea, and will mark a new chapter in the effective conservation of this species.”

Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park said, “We have invested millions of dollars to create this new freshwater Yangtze River exhibit to showcase Chinese sturgeons and other unique species, with the hope of connecting guests from around the world with nature, providing fun and engaging ways for them to learn more about the wonderful biodiversity in the Yangtze River, and learn to appreciate China’s tireless conservation efforts for the River and other freshwater resources. We are pleased to take our collaboration with National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association to a new level. We want to thank our conservation partners, National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Beijing Aquarium and Xiamen Chinese Sturgeon Centre for their support and expertise.”

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Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration
Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration