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Ocean Park Unveils Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure

2020-06-29

New animal exhibit offers edutaining conservation journey

Ocean Park today officially opens the doors to Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure, its newest animal exhibit which will begin welcoming visitors from 1 July.  Inside the African-styled pavilion, visitors can get up close with adorable meerkats and Aldabra giant tortoises to learn about these incredible creatures as well as the importance of respecting nature. An array of meerkat-and-tortoise-themed delicacies and souvenirs will also be launched this summer so that guests can enjoy a true African-style adventure. Meanwhile, online reservations for 25 July to 31 August will be open for general public from 10 July.
 
“We are very excited to have meerkats and Aldabra giant tortoises joining the ranks of Ocean Park’s animal ambassadors, and playing a part in furthering the Park’s education and conservation mission. Every element of Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure has been carefully considered, from the environmentally-friendly architecture for energy conservation, to the interactive installations that allow visitors to have a deeper understanding of animals and nature during their visit,” said Leo Kung, Ocean Park Chairman. “The Park is also preparing additional educational activities featuring both meerkats and Aldabra giant tortoises, so that all visitors – young and grown – can have a truly edutaining adventure that brings to life the importance of respecting all living creatures on Earth.”
 
New Animal Ambassadors to Inspire Learning
Originally hailing from Africa, the meerkats and the Aldabra giant tortoises are now calling Ocean Park home. They will help promote the importance of sharing, harmony and mutual respect to the Park visitors.
 
Ocean Park is currently home to 20 meerkats – five of which moved in over a year ago from Zoos South Australia. They swiftly adapted to their new living environment, and formed two different families with 15 pups. Meerkats are very social animals and live in groups called “mobs”; they work incredibly well together to tackle problems. Visitors may even be inspired by these furry friends on offering help to others and overcoming adversity together.
 
To celebrate the arrival of three Hong Kong-born meerkat pups, Ocean Park held a naming poll on Facebook earlier, and announces the results today.  Backed by 4,112 people (accounting for nearly half of votes), the pups will now officially be named as “Charles (milk tea with condensed milk)”, “Jeff (black coffee)” and “Yan (coffee with tea)”. This set of names is the transliteration of popular local beverages, which are all local cultural icons and share a similar colour with the meerkat’s fur.
 
The Aldabra giant tortoise family, featuring two 15-year-old males, was given to Ocean Park as a private donation. The Aldabra giant tortoise is the second largest tortoise in the world, with an average life span of 100 years. Climate change continues to threaten the home and survival of the species. The Park hopes to inspire visitors to be more environmentally conscious in their daily lives to protect all animals and limited resources on Earth.
 
African-themed Pavilion Adopts Sustainable Design and Interactive Elements
Spanning a total of 800 sqm at Whiskers Harbour, Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure can host up to 60 people at a time. With the new animals from the African continent taking centre stage, the new exhibit interior is mostly earth-toned, accented with colourful African tribal designs that will immerse visitors into the depths of the joyous and lively African savannah. The pavilion also features environmentally-friendly design elements, including energy-saving and longer-lasting LED lights. It is additionally lined with large skylights to draw daylight in, to not only minimise the use of electricity, but also bring visitors closer to nature. A series of interactive and experiential games allow visitors to read through interactive e-books, help meerkats and giant tortoises pick their food, race against different African animals and see the world from the angle of Aldabra giant tortoise. These fun and interactive elements will inspire visitors to explore the wonders of nature.
 
Delicacies and Souvenirs for a Fully Immersive African Adventure
The African theme continues into the Park’s latest culinary offering. Visitors can swing by the Whiskers Express food kiosks and enjoy the delectable Meerkat Set Menu, featuring a juicy Teriyaki Angus Beef Burger with cute meerkat print, which can be paired with an aromatic Single Origin Kenya Coffee or a refreshing Raspberry and Apple Cranberry Soda with Jelly. Sweet surprises including tortoise and meerkat-shaped desserts and baked goods will also be awaiting guests at the Aqua City Bakery.
 
Visitors can bring home a splash of Africa’s excitement and adventure with the new merchandise, featuring meerkat and giant tortoise plush toys, as well as Whiskers & Friends African Adventure Collection. They can also drop by OPX to customise souvenirs with African-themed designs or even create a unique personalised storybook to record their African adventure in the Park. Visitors can simply follow the instructions and get five to seven photos taken at OPX, and in just 20 minutes they will receive a storybook featuring their photos alongside Whiskers & Friends as the main characters.
 
Ocean Park Chairman and Chief Executive to Complete Their Ocean Park Service
During the opening ceremony of Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure, Ocean Park also extended its gratitude to Leo Kung, outgoing Chairman of Ocean Park, whose tenure ends on 30 June, as well as Matthias Li, Chief Executive of Ocean Park, who will retire on 1 July, for their support and service to the Park over the years. A warm welcome was also extended to Lau Ming-wai, the Chairman-designate of Ocean Park and Ysanne Chan, the Chief Executive-designate of Ocean Park.
 
Leo Kung, outgoing Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park has always been committed to enhancing the entertainment experiences of our visitors, while connecting them with nature through education and conservation. It is an honour to witness how Ocean Park has continued to build its edutainment offerings over the past 17 years, especially through its initiatives which encourage immersive interplay between visitors and the environment, as well as inspire a deeper love for nature. The Board of Directors and I are truly grateful to the entire Ocean Park team and the Management who are always enthusiastic and dedicated even during times of financial difficulties. I especially appreciate the team’s endless creativity, and their ability to create memorable experiences for every visitor.  Once again, I am incredibly proud of our team at Ocean Park.”
 
Matthias Li, retiring Chief Executive of Ocean Park, expressed, “Ocean Park is deeply rooted in our local culture and is also a collective memory of all Hong Kong people. I am very honoured to have witnessed Ocean Park’s transformation from Hong Kong’s local theme park to a world-class entertainment resort. The past 26 years will always be an unforgettable part for me.  I had the chance to grow and excel with the Park, and experienced the ups and downs of Hong Kong with my colleagues. Together, we overcame the challenges brought by 2003 SARS outbreak and this year’s COVID-19 pandemic. We have also worked so hard to achieve so many different milestones together, including a remarkable achievement in conservation through caring for Jia Jia, the world’s oldest panda in captivity and garnering the prestigious 2012 Applause Award by Sweden’s Liseberg Amusement Park. I must extend my sincere gratitude to the Board, and my many colleagues along the way, for offering me so many opportunities and tremendous trust. We would not have been able to attain so many achievements without our committed staff. I truly thank Hongkongers and worldwide guests for their ongoing support for Ocean Park, and I look forward to seeing the Park continue to advance in the years to come as it creates happy and memorable experiences for all.”