The Hoi Ha Wan Virtual Tour Explore one of the first Marine Parks in Hong Kong on WWF’s new online platform
This virtual tour is designed to promote conservation of the marine environment in Hong Kong. Through photos, video clips and interesting facts, people can have a close-up look at the marine life in Hoi Ha Wan, including corals, coral fishes, jellyfishes, hermit crabs, sea star and planktons.
Ellen Shek, Hoi Ha Centre Manager, WWF- Hong Kong, said, “WWF is working hard to promote Hong Kong marine biodiversity. The ‘Hoi Ha Wan Virtual Tour’ is a new educational tool, providing students, teachers and the general public with the privilege of exploring Hoi Ha Wan 24 hours a day, even if you don’t know how to dive!”.
Hoi Ha Wan, located north of Sai Kung West Country Park, was listed as a marine park in 1996. It is one of the first marine parks in Hong Kong, and the only one with direct road access. It covers 260 hectares, contains over 60 coral species, more than 120 species of reef-associated fish, and 6 species of mangrove. In 2008, the Jockey Club HSBC WWF Hong Kong Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre officially opened. Managed by WWF-Hong Kong, it is the only sea-based marine education centre in Hong Kong, with plans for it to be developed into a regional training centre for natural marine resources and a hub for marine research. It has been providing interactive marine education programmes to students, teachers and community groups since its establishment.
There are 6 main themes in the virtual tour: coastal habitats, corals, plankton, fish, invertebrates and the Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre itself. Visitors can go into any of these important ecological highlights, observe the various ecosystems, and discover how different species interact and depend on each other. There are also lots of fun and lesser-known facts available, such as how old the longest-living black coral is, and how sea stars feed themselves. It is an excellent interactive platform for parents and children to learn about marine issues, and a perfect database for teachers to draw upon and source extracurricular teaching materials.
Details of some sessions are as follows:
A coral polyp can be considered one of the smallest animals in the world, but it also makes up the only natural formation in the world that is visible from space: Australia's Great Barrier Reef! And there are lots of corals on the seabed of Hong Kong waters. Go to this theme to check out the beauty of the corals living in Hoi Ha Wan, and also learn some lesser-known facts about corals. For example, did you know that the oldest black coral has lived for 4,265 years?
By viewing the photos and video clips, you can have a closer look at the fish in Hoi Ha Wan without actually diving in! You can also learn how and why different fish species must live in different ecological environments; ranging from coral fish in a coral habitat, marbled rockfish in sea floor rocky habitat, and flatheads on borrows. You can also learn about fisheries conservation.
Most plankton are tiny and can only be seen with a magnifying glass or microscope. However, they are of utmost importance in the food chain and for all marine life. The largest whale, the blue whale, takes in up to 3.6 tonnes of a type of zooplankton called ‘krill‘ each day! This session showcases the characteristics of plankton with photos and high-resolution video that capture living plankton under the microscope.
‘Invertebrates’ refers to creatures without backbones, including the sea slug, hermit crab, sea star, sea urchin and squid. Let’s appreciate the biodiversity of the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.