(2 April 2012, Hong Kong) Ocean Park today unveiled Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures and announced the addition of two female golden monkeys from Sichuan, Le Le and Hu Hu, to the Park’s family of animal ambassadors. These iconic animals will join other animal ambassadors to spread important messages about the conservation of rare species. During Animal Month – in High Definition, which runs from 3 April to 6 May, guests not only can encounter the golden monkeys, giant pandas and other rare species, they can also undertake an exploration of Chinese national treasures through the park’s first-ever show featuring real-time interactive animation technology, animal face-changing performances by Sichuan masters, a rich array of edutaining games and activities, and more.
Arrival of National Key Protected Species in Hong Kong
At today’s launch ceremony for the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “It is Ocean Park’s honour to be entrusted with these two precious female golden monkeys by the Department of Forestry of Sichuan Province and Chengdu Zoo. During the loan period, these national treasures will live in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, which was renovated from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat. We are also grateful to The Hong Kong Jockey Club for their HK$5 million donation in support of the Jockey Club Ocean Park Education Programme, offering some 30,000 mostly underprivileged local students a chance to take part in courses on giant pandas and golden monkeys offered by Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong, and to have fun learning in the Park.”
Dr. Zeman continued, “To prepare ourselves for the arrival of Le Le and Hu Hu, we sent animal keepers to Sichuan last year to learn from experts at the Chengdu Zoo on how to take care of golden monkeys. I believe that with our experience and expertise in caring for a wide variety of species, we will be able to provide Le Le and Hu Hu a healthy and happy environment, not to mention attentive and professional animal care. Also, our beloved Jia Jia has recently become the oldest female giant panda under human care in the world – an achievement that reflects well on our expertise in caring for rare animals.” Officiating guests at the launch ceremony of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures included Mr. Tsang Tak Sing, GBS, JP, Secretary for Home Affairs of the HKSAR; Mr. Jiang Chu, Deputy Director in General, Department of Forestry of Sichuan Province; and Mr. T. Brian Stevenson, SBS, JP, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Ocean Park has specially introduced from Sichuan the golden monkey’s favourite food, Chinese privet, and designated an area in the Park to cultivate the plant. As golden monkeys love to play and live on trees, Ocean Park created a temperature and humidity-controlled wooded area to be their new home. Animal keepers from Chengdu are currently in Hong Kong to exchange ideas with their local counterparts to ensure that Le Le and Hu Hu receive the best possible care.
Golden Monkeys as Wildlife Conservation Advocates
Mr. Jiang Chu, Deputy Director in General, Department of Forestry of Sichuan Province, who spearheaded the loan of the two golden monkeys to Ocean Park, said, “The golden monkey is a highly endangered species whose natural habitat has been damaged in the past and now faces the impact of ever-increasing human activities. By having these golden monkeys become animal ambassadors at Ocean Park, we hope they would raise public awareness of the importance of protecting wild golden monkeys and help drive their conservation. In light of Ocean Park’s illustrious track record, we are highly confident in their ability to provide excellent care to Le Le and Hu Hu. We would also like to offer our sincerest thanks to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Jockey Club for their support in rebuilding nature reserves for giant pandas after the earthquake. As well, the people of Hong Kong deserve our gratitude for their support and encouragement.”
Mr. T. Brian Stevenson, SBS, JP, Chairman, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, said, “This three-year long Jockey Club Ocean Park Education Programme will strengthen local students’ knowledge about these rare species and raise their awareness of conservation. The programme will more fully meet the students’ learning needs by complementing the new senior secondary school curriculum.” Mr. Stevenson also noted that 35 years ago, HKJC funded the construction of Ocean Park, which remains one of the most creative and imaginative projects it has ever undertaken.
Ocean Park Staff Visited Chengdu to Learn about Golden Monkeys
On loan from Chengdu Zoo in Sichuan, animal ambassadors Le Le and Hu Hu, both female, will be staying at Ocean Park over the coming 3 years. Three-year old Le Le is reserved and alert, while the 2-year old Hu Hu is clever and energetic. To prepare for the arrival of the pair of national treasures, Ocean Park sent staff members to Chengdu last July and this January to learn how to monitor the behaviour of golden monkeys, interpret their vocalizations, and train them to respond to commands. They also made arrangements for the transport to Hong Kong. Le Le and Hu Hu’s diet and activities have been very satisfactory since their arrival at Ocean Park in mid-January this year. They grew by 0.6kg and 1kg respectively – a sign they have already fully adapted to life in their new home at Ocean Park.
To celebrate the arrival of Le Le and Hu Hu, Ocean Park is featuring the golden monkeys and other national treasure animals as the theme of this year’s Animal Month – In High Definition through a series of presentations. Guests can admire sculptures of golden monkey created by artists from Chengdu and Hong Kong outside Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures, and walk through National Treasure Trail to learn about China’s most amazing treasures via QR code. They can also explore Monkey King’s Cave of Mystery at Great Entertainment Theatre in Old Hong Kong, newly opened in mid-March, to enjoy a real-time interactive animation show about the monkey king. In addition, there will be a heart-racing Monkey Madness parkour performance, a face-changing show by Sichuan masters called Sichuan Animals – Masters of the Mask, the Playful Animals Academy for the entire family, and new merchandise inspired by the adorable Le Le and Hu Hu.
Being Hong Kong People’s Park, Ocean Park has always presented guests with different discount offers. Guests who purchase or renew Gold Pass and Student Pass membership of the SmartFun Annual Pass between 1 April and 30 June will be awarded a SmartFun Extra Value Guide valued at over HK$2,400. While Hong Kong residents continue to enjoy free admission on their birthday; during the year-long 35th anniversary celebration, residents with specific configurations of HKID card number can enjoy up to 35% discount on daytime admission tickets. Furthermore, Ocean Park offers a total of 13 community care programmes to benefit families under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, senior citizens aged over 65, holders of Registration Card for People with Disabilities, and others.
Dr. Allan Zeman concluded, “We are grateful to the Mainland government and other countries for their confidence in our ability to care for rare animals. We hope that by encountering our animal ambassadors, guests can learn about the importance of protecting various endangered species and their habitats, and put their commitment to conservation into practice in their daily life. With the Easter holidays just around the corner, I encourage everyone to plan ahead for a Golden Festival of Fun at Ocean Park!”