Birdwatchers raise HK$1m for Mai Po

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 March, 2010, 12:00am

A birdwatching competition has raised nearly HK$1 million to improve the environment of the city's major bird haven.

The money will be used to create a 1.5-hectare freshwater marsh for dragonflies and amphibians, and a shallow-water high-tide roost for waterbirds in the Mai Po ponds, said WWF-Hong Kong, organisers of the annual competition. Both places will be open to the public for educational visits, including trips by schools.

WWF announced the results of its Big Bird Race this week. Twelve four-member teams competed last month to spot the most number of species within 12 hours and to raise the most funds. The teams sought support from corporate sponsors or collected donations on their own. Each team raised at least HK$60,000, with additional money raised based on a few dollars per species found.

CLP All Stars spotted 136 bird species, narrowly beating HK Electric Wandering Tattlers, with 135 species, and the Sparrows (134 species).

The Sparrows also won a prize for spotting the most unusual bird seen. The team of individual bird lovers saw a ferruginous duck - which is listed as a species of global conservation concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - in Nam Sang Wai, Yuen Long.

The annual contest started in 1984 to raise funds for the conservation of the Mai Po Nature Reserve and to enhance awareness of wildlife.