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Mission Completed for Ocean Park’s Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration

2019-11-15

Chinese sturgeons to return to mainland for China Sturgeon Research and Conservation Programme as part of an agreement

Ocean Park will return the last batch of six Chinese sturgeons residing at the Park to the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute in early December.  In preparation of this arrangement, the Park’s Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium – Yangtze Exploration attraction will close on 22 November after completing its nine-year conservation mission.
 
The six Chinese sturgeons returning to the mainland were presented to Ocean Park by the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association in 2010 and 2014 respectively.  According to the agreement, as the Chinese sturgeons mature and grow to a requisite size, they will be returned to the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, where they will be kept for the Institute’s research and conservation programmes or be released into the wild.
 
Considered a living fossil, the Chinese sturgeons showcased at the Park’s Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium –Yangtze Exploration enable visitors to learn about their unique characteristics and living habits, as well as their habitats and the importance of freshwater as a natural resource.  The attraction aims to inspire visitors to take action to support conservation, protect the Chinese sturgeon and other freshwater animals in the wild and their habitats.
 
Li Yian-liang, Director of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association, said, “We are glad to collaborate with Ocean Park Hong Kong and we appreciate the Park’s contribution to the conservation of Chinese sturgeons. The Park has provided an international platform for us to promote conservation knowledge about the Yangtze River ecosystems, and aquatic animals such as the Chinese sturgeon to visitors from Hong Kong and around the world.  In the past nine years, the Park has shared skills and knowledge gained from taking care of Chinese sturgeons, and deepened our understanding of the growth of Chinese sturgeons in human care.  This marks a great advance in raising the species successfully and releasing them into the wild to achieve the ultimate goal of their sustainability in the wild.”
 
“Ocean Park appreciates the continued trust and support of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association and their conservation experts, which enabled us to launch relevant conservation programmes at the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium.  The Park is also grateful for the support of its visitors.  Since the opening of the Aquarium, visitors have made donations amounted to over HK$310,000 at the Aquarium to Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong to support aquatic wildlife conservation work in action,” said Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park.  “The Park was also proud to introduce the Ocean Dinosaur and Chinese Living Fossil educational programmes from 2009 to 2012, and together with narrations, benefited some 100,000 primary and secondary school students and the public. These activities enabled students and the community to discover and learn about this Chinese national treasure’s life and how environmental change affects them.”
 
Michael Boos, Executive Director of Zoological Operations & Conservation of Ocean Park, said, “The Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium at Ocean Park successfully accelerated Hong Kong and Mainland collaboration in research and information exchange, playing a key role in the study of the habits of Chinese sturgeons living in the sea and freshwater, as well as disease research on the species.  At the same time, by taking care of and exhibiting Chinese sturgeons the Park has acquired valuable knowledge, and established databases of blood parameters and growth that are made available to the industry, contributing to the sustainable development and quantitative growth of this prehistoric rare species.   Over the years, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong has sponsored six conservation research programmes on the Chinese sturgeon, as well as three Chinese Sturgeon Annual Meetings, including The 6th International Symposium on Sturgeon.  The closure of the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium is far from the end of the Park’s conservation efforts on Chinese sturgeons.  We will continue to attend annual meetings on the species, while the Foundation will continue to support the conservation of the Chinese sturgeon and its habitats through fundraising and research.