Professional Birdwatchers Compete for Top Birdwatching Title in Big Bird Race
A total of 12 birdwatching teams will compete for the top bird-watching champion by recording as many different bird species as possible within a 24-hour at Big Bird Race on 23 and 2 4 March 2007. The Race is WWF's main annual event to raise funds for the management and conservation of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, as well as enhance public awareness on Hong Kong's rich biodiversity.
"WWF would like to thank the sponsors and teams for continuing their support to the race. This year, we have added a new element to the Race by running the Mini Bird Race to promote birdwatching activity to the general public in particular the young generations. It is always our intention to enhance public interest in nature conservation by engaging the audience with an interesting activity in a natural environment. I believe there's a need to better engage public audience in conservation activities if we are to achieve greater conservation results," said Mr Eric Bohm, CEO, WWF Hong Kong.
While the funds raised from the Big Bird Race are crucial to the management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, the event is also essential to raise public awareness on Hong Kong's rich bird life . Last year, part of the funds was set aside in the construction of a new boardwalk at Mai Po which is about to start construction this summer. The new boardwalk shall provide an additional venue for students and the public to view the waterbirds in Deep Bay.
"Whilst we had a record new high number of 366 Black-faced Spoonbills this winter, we also witnessed a notable decline in a number of species that are normally recorded in Hong Kong in winter, such as the Falcated Teal. In 1984, some 413 individuals were recorded wintering in Mai Po but by this year, their number had declined to 12. Hong Kong is at the southerly distribution range of these species and with the temperature in Hong Kong becoming warmer in recent years due to climate change, these species appears to be wintering further north, not needing to fly down to Hong Kong. As for the new high number of Black-faced Spoonbills at Mai Po, this may be a result of the increased effort made to conserve these birds throughout their range from Korea to Vietnam," said Mr Tobi Lau, Mai Po Reserve Officer, WWF Hong Kong.
Birdwatching is becoming more popular in Hong Kong as more people are seeking a way to get away from their normal busy life. Some feel they can find a peaceful mind while doing the birdwatching while some see it as a healthy activity with their next generations.
Dr Ko Wing Man, member of Lee Hysan Sparrows team, has joined the Big Bird Race for the 4th year. "I find birdwatching very enjoyable. However, as I always need to work very long hours, I can only do birdwatching in the nearby area during my very limited free time. By joining Big Bird Race, I am now entitled to do birdwatching for 24 hours which is a rare opportunity for me."
"Birdwatching is also a very healthy family activity which allows my son to better understand the importance of nature conservation. Now, whenever we are conducting any outdoor activity, we normally spend several hours in birdwatching and appreciation of our natural environment," continued Dr Ko, who will join the race with his son this year.
With a land area of only 1,095 square kilometres, Hong Kong is home to some 450 species of birds – roughly a third of the total number of bird species in the whole of China. All teams will plan their own route which usually cover the birdwatching hotspots such as Mai Po, Long Valley, Tsim Bei Tsui and Tai Po Kau.
The winning team of Big Bird Race 2006 was the The Professionals recording 15 9 species of birds. The total number of bird species spotted this year is 217, 12 species more than 2005.
Members of the public can support the Race by making donations in support of this competition in lump sum or per bird species donations to the team(s) they support. For further information, please visit our website at www.wwf.org.hk.
Participating Team s & Sponsors :
- The Professionals (Mr. Daniel Bradshaw 60 th Birthday)
- Mai Po Team (Fung Lok Wai Wetland Nature Reserve)
- DHL Team (DHL)
- Hang Lung All Stars Team (Hang Lung Properties Limited)
- Hong Kong Electric WTS JPC Team (The Hongkong Electric Co., Ltd.)
- HKSP Ho Koon Centre Team ( Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation)
- Jebsen Eagles ( Jebsen & Co., Ltd .)
- Jebsen Holidays Wandering Tattlers ( Jebsen Holidays )
- Lee Hysan Sparrows ( Lee Hysan Foundation )
- Swire Birdbrains ( The Swire Group Charitable Trust )
- Kadoorie Cuckoos
- Baptist Wing Lung Secondary School
The event s ponsors include The Bank of East Asia Ltd., Fung Lok Wai Wetland Nature Reserve , Executive Search Group Int' l Ltd, Kerry Holdings Ltd., Modern Terminals Limited and Pacific Tiger Group. Special thanks are extended to Pentax Binoculars, Sino Group and Victorinox Hong Kong Limited.WWF has been working in Hong Kong since 1981 to ensure a better environment for the present and future generations in Hong Kong through implementing a wide range of focused conservation and environmental education programmes in Hong Kong and Mainland China.