Hong Kong prides itself in dedicating about 40 per cent of our land to Country Parks, banning the destructive fishing method of trawling in our waters, and protecting globally important wetlands at Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay.

But there’s still much room for improvement.

We haven’t done a good job at protecting pockets of ecologically important land from all sorts of degradation. The number of Chinese white dolphins found in Hong Kong plunged to a new low. And we are guilty as charged for being a trade hub for shark fin and ivory.

Recently, an opportunity to right these predicaments has presented itself.

In 2011, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was extended to Hong Kong. The onus is on the government to conserve our rich biodiversity through developing a five-year Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP).

Over the past two years, the Environment Bureau enlisted the help of more than 100 experts and stakeholders to suggest how the city can step up measures to protect its natural heritage.

WWF-Hong Kong is heartened that, in the public consultation document of BSAP released this January, authorities proposed to develop/review the management plans of protected areas, enhance conservation of natural streams and rivers, and create a comprehensive, publicly accessible database of information on local wildlife and habitats.

That said, the document lacks concrete actions and targets to protect our most vulnerable wildlife – such as golden coin turtle and Chinese pangolin – and habitats – such as oceans and freshwater marshes.

WWF believes we can best protect our enchanting countryside brimming with biodiversity by including the eight following key recommendations in the final BSAP.

Support us by completing the letter below before 7 April, 2016 (Thursday)! The letter will then be sent to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department immediately.

Please act now!

Petition Letter

Email subject :

Hong Kong can do an even better job at protecting our countryside and seas!

I support the government’s proposal, in the public consultation document of Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) released this January, to develop/review the management plans of protected areas, enhance conservation of natural streams and rivers, and create a comprehensive, publicly accessible database of information on local wildlife and habitats.

But I believe we can better protect our enchanting countryside brimming with biodiversity by taking the following additional actions. Thus I urge the government to include them in the final BSAP.

(Please check the box(es) that you agree with)

Present and planned MPAs cover only less than 6% of our seas, a far cry from Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target of at least 10%. Worse still, many marine biodiversity hotspots –such as the horseshoe crab haven of Ha Pak Nai and the core habitat of Chinese white dolphins off West Lantau– are left out.

Hong Kong needs a well-designed-and-managed MPA network located in the right places and features no-take zones. Only so can we protect our marine biodiversity, boost eco-tourism and help depleted fisheries recover.

The Deep Bay wetlands are a crucial waystation for tens of thousands of migratory waterbirds. The better managed they are, the more likely wildlife will thrive. Trouble is there is little coordination in the management of privately-managed wetland reserves which was set up to compensate for development projects. And more privately-owned fishponds and marshes are destined to be developed on.

Deep Bay needs a holistic wetland conservation and management plan, and also a statutory Wetland Trust to look after the growing number of privately-managed reserves. The Trust can be expanded to protect other ecologically-important private land.

The Country Park system is a sanctuary for our exceptionally rich terrestrial biodiversity, serves as a perfect destination for weekend getaway, and collects water into our reservoirs for our everyday use. But lowland rivers, freshwater marshes and feng shui woods – which are often located in enclaves – are under-represented in the system, and are often destroyed and developed on.

That’s why we need to incorporate enclaves with these important habitats into country park system, and also retain ecological corridors between country parks to increase their resilience against climate change.

Over the past decade, pockets of ecologically-important natural habitats on private land have been vulnerable to all sorts of degradation. Recently, dragonfly hotspot Sha Lo Tung has been stripped bare of vegetation and fishponds important to migratory waterbirds in Deep Bay has been filled in. Such activities not only destroy biodiversity, but also the landscape.

Hong Kong needs to close legal loopholes in the Town Planning Ordinance, strengthen enforcement, and restore destroyed habitats.

The information on many local flora and fauna – such as marine fishes, termites and beetles – is scattered or lacking. Thus it is unclear whether their survival is at risk.

Thus Hong Kong should enlist the help of experts to regularly assess the conservation status of local wildlife using the globally-recognized and standardized criteria of the IUCN Red List, and compile a List of Threatened Species to be appended to the Hong Kong Planning Standard and Guideline. Hence we can better direct resources to save species in peril, and inform EIAs, planning studies and legislation.

A number of iconic and/or globally important animal species found in Hong Kong – such as Chinese white dolphin, Chinese pangolin, Chinese Bahaba, Eurasian otter, Hong Kong grouper, golden coin turtle, big-headed turtle, Beale’s turtle – are in serious decline in recent years due to human-induced threats.

To allow their populations to recover, we need to develop and implement actions with clear conservation objectives and specific measures in hopes these will become international success stories.

As Hong Kong is heavily dependent on imports and acts as regional trade hub, we can negatively influence wildlife and ecosystems beyond our borders.

We need to recognize our responsibility and stop consumption and trade of unsustainably and illegally sourced products such as seafood, shark fin and ivory. We can achieve this by improving interdepartmental cooperation, plugging loopholes in existing laws, and enacting new ones.

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