WWF Hong Kong - Managing Mai Po Nature Reserve

Managing Mai Po Nature Reserve

Located on the northwestern corner of Hong Kong, the Deep Bay wetland complex is among Asia’s finest locations for wetland biodiversity. The complex spans some 2,700 hectares and is home to diverse habitats supporting a wide range of species, and is a renowned haven for migratory birds.

Since 1983, WWF-Hong Kong has actively managed the Mai Po Nature Reserve (a 380 hectare area in Deep Bay), continuously developing research and education facilities while carrying out extensive conservation work to maintain the wetlands. With such a unique and biologically diverse wetland flora and fauna living across six types of wetland including fishponds, gei wai, mudflats, mangroves, reedbed and freshwater ponds, WWF’s management of Mai Po makes every effort to enhance the potential of this important and outstanding ecological sanctuary.

Visit Mai Po

 / ©: Rubin Chua
WWF organizes numerous tours of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, suitable for individual visitors, students and teachers, and specialists.

Mai Po & Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site

 / ©: Samson So
Mai Po Nature Reserve - Flock of birds
© Samson So
On 4 September, 1995 the Hong Kong Government designated an area of roughly 1,500 hectares of Inner Deep Bay as a 'Wetland of International Importance' under the prestigious Ramsar Convention.

Designation as a Ramsar site has provided exciting opportunities for conserving Hong Kong’s largest remaining wetland area. Under the Ramsar Site zonation, the Mai Po Nature Reserve is classified as a Biodiversity Management Zone, offering numerous benefits for regional wildlife and for the local community, through education, recreation and conservation activities. Click here to download the Ramsar Site factsheet.

Mai Po Virtual Tour

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong


 / ©: Mai Po Nature Reserve Management Plan V1 V2

Site Management

Mai Po Site Management / ©: Lew Young
Mai Po Site Management
© Lew Young
Management at Mai Po Nature Reserve has the goal of maintaining and where possible increasing the biodiversity of suitable wetland habitats and the richness of native wildlife. With several areas designated as Biodiversity Management Zones (BMZ). Each year, WWF carries out habitat management projects and infrastructure developments to ensure this important conservation wetland area is managed to capitalize on its vast potential. WWF works to promote use of the nature reserve for scientific research and educational purposes in addition to organizing tours for the general public.

Mai Po at a glimpse

Mai Po background and threats / ©: Bena Smith
View the video here.

Wetlands Habitats

 / ©: Bena Smith
Mai Po wetland habitats
© Bena Smith
There are six main types of wetland habitat found in the Mai Po Nature Reserve and adjacent areas. These include: Collectively, these habitats provide food and shelter to an astonishingly rich and varied wildlife, while the ponds support the livelihoods of Hong Kong’s freshwater fish farming communities.

Mai Po Wildlife

 / ©: Neil Fifer
Mai Po Wildlife
© Neil Fifer
As a Nature Reserve, Mai Po is internationally renowned for supporting vast numbers of migratory waterbirds every year, particularly in mid-winter when around 60,000 are present in Deep Bay. The Reserve is also home to an amazing diversity of other wildlife, offering spectacles in all seasons of the year.

Click here to read more about Mai Po’s wildlife.

Wetland Research and Monitoring

 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong
Wetland Monitoring and Research Programme
© WWF-Hong Kong
Ecological research is undertaken by many different organisations and groups at the Mai Po Nature Reserve, including the Hong Kong government, local and international academic institutions, bird-watching societies and individual specialists. WWF itself has a dedicated Research and Monitoring team, which assesses the success of different types of habitat management. This cutting edge research contributes to regional understanding of effective management. Work of the Research and Mai Po Nature Reserve Habitat Management, Research and Monitoring Plan.

Click here to learn more about WWF’s Research and Monitoring Work at Mai Po and read more if you would like to carry out research at Mai Po.