(Hong Kong – 9 May) The Honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, Secretary for Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, today joined Mr. Wei Hong, Governor of Sichuan Province, Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, and other guests to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ocean Park and the Sichuan Forestry Department (SFD) on further collaboration in conservation and public education efforts. Ocean Park also hosted Sichuan Day in collaboration with SFD and the Sichuan Tourism Administration (STA) to raise awareness of the wildlife conservation and post-construction efforts in Sichuan, with the support of the Hong Kong SAR government over the years. The latest study shows that Sichuan is home to 1,387 giant pandas in the wild, accounting for 75% of wild giant pandas in China. Since 2003, the wild panda population in Sichuan has risen by 15% as a result of expanded habitat and nature reserve areas, enhanced conservation management and strong community support.
Among the guests who attended the MOU signing ceremony were Mr. Hao Kangli, Director of Sichuan Provincial Tourism Administration and other representatives of SFD and STA. Also on hand for the occasion were around 300 local secondary school students and teachers.
The Honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, Secretary for Development, said, “The signing of MOU with the Sichuan Forestry Department marks an important milestone in the relationship between Hong Kong and Sichuan in the field of wildlife conservation and public education. Thanks to Ocean Park’s dedication along the way, the Sichuan animals are well taken care of in a superb environment offered by the Park.”
Mr. Wei Hong, Governor of Sichuan Province, said, “The Hong Kong SAR government, the Hong Kong public and Ocean Park have offered tremendous support to Sichuan Province towards our post-earthquake reconstruction. The signing of the MOU marks a new chapter of our collaboration with Ocean Park on the conservation of Sichuan wildlife, extending our work on giant pandas to other rare species. Being one of the world’s leading theme parks, Ocean Park will also offer a valuable education platform to raise awareness of our conservation efforts and promote Sichuan as a travel destination.”
Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “Being Hong Kong People’s Park, we are proud to support the Development Bureau of the HKSAR in contributing to 23 reconstruction projects in Wolong National Nature Reserve, including the China Conservation and Research Centre for giant pandas. In addition, the Park has signed an agreement with the Development Bureau and the Sichuan Forestry Department in 2013 regarding the continued collaboration of Sichuan and Hong Kong in the Wolong Nature Reserve. On this collaboration, we have taken the initiative to coordinate efforts for the continued development of Wolong, contributing to a total of 26 projects, with a mission to promote environmental conservation and academic exchanges between the two regions and across the entire globe.”
Committed to various post-reconstruction projects in Sichuan, Ocean Park has signed the “Sichuan-Hong Kong Wolong Post-Reconstruction Collaboration Agreement” with the Development Bureau and SFD in 2013 to collaborate on the rebuilding of the Wolong National Nature Reserve. Ocean Park also assisted the Development Bureau in designing the rebuilding of the Wolong National Nature Reserve and the world’s first giant panda disease control centre in Dujiangyan. In 2014, the Park was appointed by the HKSAR Government as the Administrator of the Sichuan-Hong Kong Wolong Post-Reconstruction Collaboration to help manage and monitor 23 collaborative projects that aim to help local residents make the most of the new infrastructure to improve their quality of life and contribute to giant panda conservation.
For today’s Sichuan Day event, Ocean Park arranged at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures an exclusive video presentation of wildlife and habitats in Sichuan and a series of display panels on the conservation status of giant pandas and the many critical infrastructures made possible by support provided by the Hong Kong SAR government. There are also panels on projects in Sichuan which are sponsored by the Park’s conservation arm, OPCFHK. Since 1999, OPCFHK has funded over HK$15 million on a wide range of projects, including building reserve offices at the nature reserves for giant pandas, field monitoring of wild giant pandas, personnel training and capacity building, as well as community education. These panels will be displayed at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures until 9 June.
Shortly before the signing ceremony, around 300 secondary school students attended a talk on the introduction of the investigation of wildlife photos taken with infra-red cameras presented by SFD and took part in a competition where winners were invited to visit Sichuan.
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