WWF Hong Kong - Conservation Work in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway

Conservation Work in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway

Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay lie at the heart of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), which extends 13,000 km from the Arctic Circle through Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The EAAF is home to over 50 million migratory waterbirds from over 250 different populations, including 28 globally threatened species. Each year these birds fly between their breeding and wintering grounds and in doing so rely on a network of staging (or stop-over) sites where they can rejuvenate before continuing on their journey.

These birds share the flyway with 45% of the world's human population and are declining rapidly due to the loss of wetland habitats to development, pollution and hunting. The rate of decline is the fastest of the eight global flyways.

WWF undertakes a number of projects and initiatives within the EAAF and is a member of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway partnership.
 / ©: Ramsar Secretariat and ERF
 Handbook on Best Practices for the Design and Operation of Wetland Education Centres Browse here

Migratory Shorebird Conservation

 / ©: Leung Wai Ki
Migratory birds in Deep Bay, a Delta area.
© Leung Wai Ki
Migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are in serious trouble. Of the known 54 species, 7 are already classified as of global conservation concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and another 9 under review. The heart of the problem is the major loss of coastal habitats required by these shorebirds to complete their epic migrations, but climate change, intensification of aquaculture practices and human disturbance are causal factors too.

To tackle the crisis, WWF-Hong Kong is spearheading a regional project to help conserve priority shorebird species. The project involves the participation of shorebird experts, government representatives, researchers and seeks to work alongside and synergize with regional initiatives and relevant conventions.

Click here to download the project overview.
Click here to download the Workshop Report, and click here to download the Workshop Presentations.
Click here to download the Shorebird Prioritization Report
Click here to download the Collaborative Work Programme for Shorebird Conservation
For further information, please email us.
 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong

Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund

 / ©: Wilderness Conservation / WWF - Hong Kong
Asia Waterbird Conservation Fund
© Wilderness Conservation / WWF - Hong Kong
The Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund was established to provide financial support to projects on the ground in Asia that will lead to the conservation or protection of migratory waterbirds and their wetland habitats in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway, particularly through partnership with the local community at the site. Each year WWF makes a single call for applications to the Fund with the deadline of 31 October.

Wetland Management Training

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong
WWF-Hong Kong
© WWF-Hong Kong
Using Mai Po Nature Reserve as a case study, WWF-Hong Kong has trained fellow wetland conservationists from Mainland China and elsewhere in Asia about the fundamental concepts of wetland conservation, nature reserve management, and environmental education since 1990. Mai Po Nature Reserve’s extensive facilities serve as a prime location for hands-on training in wetland management.
Please contact our training staff directly at
Tel: +852-3193 7506, +852-3193 7507,
Fax: +852-2482 0369 or Email us.

The biodiversity of the Mai Po and Deep Inner Bay wetlands are a rich source for ongoing study and environmental education. Click here to learn more about regional projects.

Conserve important wetlands

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong
Gei Wai in Haifeng, China
© WWF-Hong Kong
With generous sponsorship from HSBC, WWF delivered works in habitat management, community engagement and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in two important wetlands within the East Asian Australasian Flyway – Zhangjiangkou National Mangrove Nature Reserve in Fujian Province and Haifeng Bird Provincial Nature Reserve in Guangdong Province. The projects successfully increased the number of waterbirds in the high-tide roosting site constructed in Zhangjiangkou Nature Reserve by 12 times; In January 2009, the number of waterbirds found in Haifeng Nature Reserve exceeded 60,000. The ESD work in the project reached 11 schools in Zhangjiangkou and 6 schools in Haifeng, with a total number of teachers and students participated of over 6,500. About 13,300 local villagers also benefited from the community engagement work.

On 2nd February 2008, Zhangjiangkou Nature Reserve and Haifeng Nature Reserve were successfully designated as Ramsar Sites.

Click here to download the summary report of the Zhangjiangkou project
Click here to download the summary report of the Haifeng project

Since July 2012, generous sponsorship from Search Investment Group Ltd enables WWF to deliver another 5-year wetland conservation project in Minjiang Estuary National Nature Reserve, an important coastal wetland at the mid-way of East Asian Australasian Flyway. The site is the home to over 50,000 waterbird individuals, and 14 globally threatened bird species, such as critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini) and Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus). WWF is providing guidance and support to the reserve in habitat management, wise use of wetland resources and education for sustainable development, so that Minjiang Estuary Nature Reserve can become another heaven to birds, like Mai Po.

Through cooperation with different nature reserves, WWF hopes to establish good models for other wetland sites in mainland China.

Waterbird Migration Research

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong
Google Satellite Duck Tracking - Oeing 44815
© WWF-Hong Kong
Waterbird migration is not only an incredible wildlife phenomenon but an essential ecological process vital to the long-term survival of this group of birds. Understanding this complex process is a challenging task for conservation scientists whom employ a number of techniques to track and re-sight waterbirds as they move between breeding and wintering grounds.

In Hong Kong, the Mai Po Nature Reserve is a station for locally-based researchers to conduct studies on migratory waterbirds that use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Collectively these studies contribute to the formulation of a flyway-wide conservation strategy.

Duck Satellite Tracking
Funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Satellite Tracking Project is a collaborative effort to study wild duck migration from Hong Kong, and gain insight into the ecology and epidemiology of avian diseases.

Freshwater ponds near the Mai Po Education Centre attract ducks by the hundreds. The fitting of some with satellite transmitters allows their journeys to be tracked over thousands of kilometres.

Click here to read about the project
Click here to view the current locations and migration paths of the tagged ducks. You can view the tracking by installing Google Earth on your home computer.

Shorebird Ringing

WWF-Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bird Ringing Group have collaborated for over 30 years to carry out migratory shorebird ringing at the Mai Po Nature Reserve. Most studies involve the fitting of leg-markers onto shorebirds so that their migration can be monitored upon recapture or re-sighting.

Since the adoption of combination colour leg-flags in 2001, more than 1,000 shorebirds have been marked with the Hong Kong combination colours and re-sightings of Hong Kong shorebirds are received annually from other countries.

Click here to read more.