HK helps put pandas back on track

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am


Pandas in Sichuan are getting their lives back on track, thanks to the help of Hong Kong's largest theme park and the government.

The project, under Ocean Park's conservation foundation and the Development Bureau, aims to support the restoration of giant panda habitats in Sichuan affected by the 2008 earthquake.

The project includes reconstruction of the destroyed Wolong Nature Reserve, turning it into the new China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas, occupying an area of almost 20,000 metre squares. The centre will focus on research into the husbandry of giant pandas, as well as the restocking of the wild population.

The Giant Panda Conservation and Disease Control Centre in Dujiangyan is also being helped to rehabilitate and care for injured or sick giant pandas.

The 12,500 square metre centre will separate the area for the care and breeding of the core panda population from the zone for disease control. A centre for eco-tourism and promoting public education on giant panda conservation will also be part of the centre for the pandas' rehabilitation.

Funded by the Hong Kong government to the tune of about HK$376 million, construction of the two centres has just begun and they are expected to be completed late next year or in early 2013.

Ocean Park also organised the first study tour - from Monday to yesterday - for mainland representatives from the Wolong Nature Reserve.

The 22-member team visited Ocean Park and also the Geopark, Wetland Park and Mai Po Nature Reserve, aiming to learn about local conservation techniques and experience in facility management, animal care, eco-tourism, staff training and more. 'We have benefited greatly from the tour and experienced first-hand animal-care training in the city,' said Zhang Hemin, chief of the Wolong Nature Reserve Administration.