Felled tree put to good use with Pui Pui tribute
A sculpture of Hong Kong's celebrity crocodile Pui Pui stands proud at the entrance to her home in the Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai - the product of a 30-year-old felled tree.
Created in the likeness of the city's star croc, it took veteran artisan Ching Tat-man 12 days to craft.
'It's definitely one of my best pieces,' said Ching, an artisan of 23 years at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
He took a week to find a log of the right shape; the branches became the croc's tail and feet.
Pui Pui's sculpture is one of dozens of pieces of woodwork that the department's artisans fashion out of recycled wood every year.
At the department's workshop in Tai Tong Country Park, Yuen Long, the artisans make and refurbish 100 to 200 wooden signboards, arbours, benches and other pieces each year. About 20 per cent are made from dumped wood, senior country parks officer Ngar Yuen-ngor said.
'It would be such a waste if they went straight to the landfill,' she said. 'The trees have absorbed nutrition from their natural surroundings over the years. They can give it back if we give them a second life.'
Ngar said workers collect felled wood in good condition from government sites. The wood is then placed in an outdoor area for a year or two, so they can be dried and ready to be crafted.
She said they preferred using wood to metal for signboards and such because the material tended to blend into the surroundings.
Choi Kin-wah, a senior field assistant with the department, said they would take only trunks from trees of harder wood - such as camphor, Taiwanese acacia and broad-leaved paperbark. And the trunks should be at least 1.5 metres tall and 20cm in circumference. 'We're actually quite picky,' he said.
Ngar said they could not take every felled tree because of limited storage space and the fire risk if they stored too many of them together.