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One Ocean, One Dream The Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium Debuts at Ocean Park

2008-08-08

A unique conservation story begins in the spirit of the Green Olympics

(8 August 2008, Hong Kong) One Ocean, One Dream. The Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium opened today at Ocean Park, coinciding with the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium is a themed aquarium for Chinese sturgeons, which also marks a new chapter for Ocean Park for aquatic wildlife conservation. Five additional Chinese sturgeons, which were presented by the country’s National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, will now be on exhibit in this dedicated aquarium.

Officiating at the opening were Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park Hong Kong, Mr. Zhang Hecheng, President of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, and Miss Au King-chi, JP, Commissioner for Tourism of the HKSAR Government. Also present were Mr. Zou Gui-wei, Director of Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Mr. Hu Wei Yong, General Manager of Beijing Aquarium, Mr. Kevin Lee, Chairman of Xiamen Songda Stone Co., Ltd, and Ms. Judy Chen, Foundation Chair of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong.

Symbolising the five Olympic rings and the spirit of a Green Olympics, the five new animal ambassadors will begin sharing their unique conservation story today with guests from Hong Kong and around the world.

The 3,500 square-metre Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium will showcase these ‘living fossils’ in several themed areas. From inside the main aquarium situated beside an 11.5 metre long travelator, guests will be immersed in the pre-historic underwater world of the Chinese sturgeons. Interactive education panels will be featured throughout the aquarium, introducing the Chinese sturgeons and its various cousins, and promoting aquatic wildlife conservation messages in an engaging way.

Showcasing these living treasures in their own dedicated facility reaffirms Ocean Park’s conservation efforts for the Chinese sturgeons and its commitment to furthering scientific research on the species, together with the Mainland experts. The aquarium will feature a chronological timeline comparing other ‘living fossils,’ such as horseshoe crabs and sharks with Chinese sturgeons. The education panels also exhibit their reproductive methods and display other interesting facts about these sea animals. At the end of the experience, guests will be invited to make a pledge to conserve the world’s resources and to donate to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong, supporting the Park’s commitment to wildlife conservation.

“Ocean Park is grateful to the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association for presenting these five additional Chinese sturgeons to us,” said Dr. Zeman. “We express our sincere gratitude for the support and trust from the Association and the conservation experts. With their scientific and research expertise, we are able to move forward with the opening of the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium and do our part in preserving this precious pre-historic species. Our five new animal friends will bring new discoveries to our guests from their new home. We hope to attract more guests to learn about the nature and habitat of Chinese sturgeons through this enlightening journey. We also hope our guests will make their own conservation pledges and contribute to saving both the sturgeons and Mother Nature.”

Mr. Zhang Hecheng, President of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, said, “Congratulations to Ocean Park on today’s opening. We fully support the establishment of the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium and are confident in Ocean Park’s animal care expertise and its valuable conservation endeavours. The opening of Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium will foster greater collaboration between the Mainland and Hong Kong in scientific research initiatives on aquatic wildlife conservation.”

Mr. Hu Wei Yong, General Manager of Beijing Aquarium said, “Beijing Aquarium started its scientific conservation research with the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences five years ago and established a Chinese sturgeon aquarium in Beijing. We are delighted that Ocean Park Hong Kong has now also established a dedicated aquarium for their nine Chinese sturgeons. This will contribute greatly to our collaborative scientific study on the species’ living habits in both fresh water and sea-water. We are very glad that the conservation effort of Chinese sturgeons can now be carried out in both mainland China and in Hong Kong.”

The five additional Chinese sturgeons arrived at Ocean Park on 29 July and are undergoing a quarantine period at the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium. Each of these was selected from the Xiamen Songhao Chinese Sturgeon Breeding Centre. Healthy and active, each of the Chinese sturgeons is around nine years old, a sizable two metres in length, and belongs to the first generation of freshwater Chinese sturgeons under human care and bred by the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

These new Chinese sturgeons will gradually be acclimated to sea-water in the aquarium. Once this is complete, the four sea-water Chinese sturgeons that arrived at Ocean Park in June will join these five in the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium and continue their unique life stories of migrating between freshwater and sea-water environments.

To give local children more opportunities to gain enriching and interactive experiences with outdoor nature and meet their Chinese sturgeon friends, Ocean Park will offer a special half price admission discount to children aged from three to 11, between 8 – 31 August 2008, upon presentation of valid identification (*Please refer to the “Things To Note” below).

To make Ocean Park the choice for schools as a destination for enlightening and fun field-trips, classes that visit the Park between October and December 2008 will get a free edu-tainment CD-Rom. Packed with information about the Chinese sturgeon, nature conservation and an exciting interactive learning game, this disk is designed specifically for students. Furthermore, Ocean Park Academy will launch two new courses about Chinese sturgeons – ‘Ocean Dinosaurs’ and ‘Chinese Living Fossil’, aimed at Primary 4-6 and Secondary 1-3 students respectively, introducing the fascinating life cycle and habits of the Chinese sturgeons together with tips on how to tell the age of a fish.

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*Things To Note

1. Local children can enjoy same - day half price admission upon presentation of a valid Hong Kong birth certificate, identity card, student card or handbook of their educational institution.

2. This offer applies only for purchases made at the ticketing office at Ocean Park’s Main Entrance or Tai Shue Wan Entrance

3. This offer cannot be exchanged for cash and cannot be used in conjunction with any other admission ticket promotional offers

4. In case of any dispute, the decision of Ocean Park will be final

For any enquiries of the above special offer, please call Ocean Park at 2552 0291.

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 organisation, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognised for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 90 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offering 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.