WWF Hong Kong - Mai Po Nature Reserve
 / ©: Neil Fifer

Mai Po Nature Reserve

As a haven for thousands of migratory waterbirds every year, Mai Po Nature Reserve and the surrounding Inner Deep Bay wetlands sets a prime example of conservation success for regional wetlands, and offers visitors a chance to get up close to wildlife and appreciate the beauty of nature. 

Located on the northwestern corner of Hong Kong, the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay wetlands is recognized as 'Wetland of International Importance' under the prestigious Ramsar Convention in 1995. The 1,500-hectare area acts as a key way station and wintering site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway where 50 million migratory waterbirds travel through each year.

Since 1983, WWF has been managing the 380-heactare Mai Po Nature Reserve – as large as within 9,500 basketball courts – within the Inner Deep Bay. Classified as a Biodiversity Management Zone under the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site Management Plan, the Mai Po Nature Reserve offers benefits aplenty to wildlife and the local community through education, recreation and conservation. 

The six main habitats in Mai Po Nature Reserve – gei wais, freshwater pondsinter-tidal mudflats, mangroves, reedbeds and fishponds – are home to a host of wildlife:

The Natural Wonders of Mai Po

  • Over 400 species of birds : Among which, 49 are of global conservation concern, including the iconic Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunders’s Gull and Nordmann’s Greenshank
  • Over 100 butterfly species and 250 moth species: Two of the moth species – Thalassodes maipoensi – is new to science
  • Over 50 of dragonfly and damselfly species : One beingglobally-threatened is the Four-spot Midget
  • Over 40 crabs species: The list includes Parasesarma maipoensis which is first found at Mai Po
  • Over 10 shrimp species
  • Over 80 aquatic invertebrates excluding insects; 
  • Over 250 plants species
  • Over 20 mammal species : The list includes Eurasian Otter, a species of special conservation concern;
  • Over 20 reptile species
  • 8 amphibians species
 / ©: Neil Fifer
Water & Wetlands
© Neil Fifer

Enabling the Mai Po Nature Reserve to flourish

Mai Po Nature Reserve requires continuous active management to keep habitats suitable for its inhabitants and counter a litany of threats. Some of the challenges include natural succession (a process that wetland is transformed to terrestrial habitat), water pollution, siltation, climate change, development and invasive species (i.e. Apple Snails, Mikania and Red Imported Fire Ants).

What do we do?

  • Manage and maintain the major habitats in Mai Po Nature Reserve to safeguard, and if possible, to maximize native biodiversity, particularly species of conservation importance. 
  • Research and monitor habitats and wildlife to ensure management yields the desired benefits for species and share experience to other wetlands in the region. We also facilitate external parties to conduct research in our site.
  • Train fellow wetland conservationists in Asia in nature reserve management, and environmental education
  • Offer guided public awareness programmes and school activities with the aim to nurture the next generation of nature guardians.
  • Promote and support measures to reduce and minimise external threats to the habitats and wildlife at the Reserve
 / ©: Neil Fifer
大白鷺在繁殖季節時,背上會長出「飾羽」。
© Neil Fifer