What would you like to search for?


Walk For Nature 2-3 Dec 2023

© WWF-Hong Kong
Our Works at Mai Po

Research and Monitoring

WWF-Hong Kong’s Mai Po Nature Reserve Research and Monitoring team (the R&M team) is committed to taking a scientific approach to conservation and management practices. The team’s goal is to develop the Reserve into the premier local and regional hub for wetland ecology and conservation research. They achieve this by:
  • Conducting long-term monitoring programmes for conservation targets and other environmental indicators in the Reserve like shorebirds, Ardeids (Egrets) and the Hong Kong Bent-winged firefly
  • Conducting research that will help improve habitat management and species conservation in the Reserve and the wider Deep Bay area
  • Exploring cutting-edge tools and technologies for wetland conservation
  • Collaborating with researchers and wetland managers from around the region and overseas

Routine monitoring programmes

We regularly run over 15 monitoring activities for conservation targets and the environment, the results of which inform the team’s habitat management strategies and tactics. They cover such important species and indicators as:
  • Black-faced spoonbills
  • Anatidae (Ducks)
  • Shorebirds
  • Ardeid (Egrets)
  • Reedbed-dependent birds
  • Collared crows
  • Hong Kong Bent-winged firefly
  • Odonata (Dragonflies and damselflies)
  • Water quality

Habitat management and species conservation research

The R&M team is conducting or has already completed research on numerous topics. Two of the most recent are:
  • Conservation of the Eurasian Otter (in progress). Otters are a primary conservation target and a wetland conservation flagship. The team conducts regular camera trap and sign surveys to map their distribution and estimate their population in the Reserve and the surrounding area.
  • Freshwater habitat enhancement through buffalo grazing (completed). The research results show that water buffaloes effectively control the height of vegetation and maintain a wet, marshy habitat that supports a greater diversity of wildlife.

Using advanced tools and technologies for wetland conservation

To enhance both the collection and accuracy of data, the R&M team is exploring using such advanced tools and technologies as:
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles to obtain aerial photos that monitor habitats
  • Satellite tracking to study the migration routes of migratory birds and identify critical sites for protection
  • Internet of Things devices to improve the efficiency and accuracy of environmental monitoring, such as real-time water level sensors
  • Artificial intelligence to facilitate automatic animal detection and identification

Collaborations with researchers and wetland managers

The team actively engages and collaborates with researchers and wetland managers to advance scientific knowledge about the conservation of Mai Po, Deep Bay and other regional wetlands. Over 30 external or collaborative research projects related to the ecology, management and conservation of wetlands in Mai Po and Deep Bay are facilitated by the R&M team each year.