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PRE-HISTORIC SPECIES TO MAKE MID-JUNE PUBLIC DEBUT AT ATOLL REEF AS MAINLAND BODY PRESENTS FIVE CHINESE STURGEONS TO OCEAN PARK HK

2008-05-08

(Hong Kong-8 May 2008) ) Ocean Park Hong Kong (“Ocean Park”) will receive five Chinese Sturgeons as gifts from a Mainland organization, the Wildlife Conservation Association’s National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association (“National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association”). These five Chinese Sturgeons will be displayed at one of the Park’s key attractions, Atoll Reef. As China’s “Class 1 Protected Animals,” these five Chinese Sturgeons will join the Park’s animal ambassadors, and facilitate further collaboration to promote aquatic wildlife education and preservation in Hong Kong and the Mainland.

The Chinese Sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis) is a species strictly protected by the Chinese government. These are known to have lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, dating back 140 million years ago, and are often called “The Living Fossil.”

Ocean Park Chairman, Dr. Allan Zeman, said, “We feel honoured that the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association chose to present Ocean Park with these rare and precious animals. These will certainly bolster our conservation efforts as people learn more about animals and their habitats. We are really glad to have new animal ambassadors to connect our guests with nature, through education and conservation messages conveyed through entertaining means.”

China’s National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association devotes its efforts to the conservation of aquatic wildlife, and to strengthen the ties among different aquatic wildlife conservation organizations in China and abroad. Mr. Li Yan Liang, Chairman of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association said, “We hope that the gift of five Chinese Sturgeons to Ocean Park will generate greater interest in general science topics, and to raise public awareness on the importance of wildlife protection.”

He continued, “The 29th Olympic Games will be held in Beijing soon. To mark this occasion, we have decided to present five sturgeons to depict the five Olympic Rings, and to support the theme of “Green Olympics.”

The five Chinese Sturgeons will be sent to Ocean Park from two locations, arranged through the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association. The Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences and the Beijing Aquarium will each supply two and three Chinese Sturgeons, respectively, to Ocean Park. All five Chinese Sturgeons were bred by the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute.

The two Chinese Sturgeons from the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute will depart from Xiamen on 12 May, while the three Chinese Sturgeons from Beijing Aquarium will leave Beijing on 19 May.

Ocean Park will put all five Chinese Sturgeons on public display at Atoll Reef in mid-June when the fish complete their quarantine.

To prepare for the arrival of these precious animals, Ocean Park will decorate Atoll Reef with new features themed on the Chinese Sturgeons. New educational and exhibition corners will be created to enable guests to learn more about the species.

To engage the public, Ocean Park is also working on a new Chinese Sturgeon page on its website and will roll out exciting promotional campaigns, with details available in due course.

“We look forward to welcoming these new members to Ocean Park. They will bring new elements and learning opportunities, specifically in aquatic wildlife, to our conservation initiatives. We will maintain our best practices in the caring for these animals, and we will work closely with our Mainland partners to facilitate more research and exchanges on wildlife protection and education, “Dr Zeman said.

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Glossary of Relevant OrganisationsGlossary 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”

Yangtze River Fishery Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences

The Yangtze River Fishery Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences is devoted to conducting research on freshwater fishes with application significance and applied research.

The Institute is taking the leading role in its research and techniques for the protection of endangered aquatic animals, preservation of their ecology, fish genetics and techniques in fish breeding, etc.

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.