Discovering Biodiversity in Hong Kong Wetlands | WWF Hong Kong

Discovering Biodiversity in Hong Kong Wetlands

Crabs play an important role in the wetland ecosystem’s nutrient cycle. The Parasesarma affinis is among the most common sesarmine crab species in Mai Po.
© WWF-Hong Kong / Leung Wai Ki

Biodiversity of Mai Po

For a relatively small city Hong Kong has an incredibly rich biodiversity, especially in our wetlands. Under the management of WWF-Hong Kong, Mai Po Nature Reserve has become an iconic wetland for Hong Kong and South China – providing food and habitat for 60,000 birds from more than 400 species each year. Alongside the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar site, the reserve is home to various types of local wildlife including aquatic fauna, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish and mammals.
© WWF-Hong Kong
The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) can be spotted through infrared cameras at Mai Po reserve.
© WWF-Hong Kong

The Natural Wonders of Mai Po

© Neil Fifer
Water & Wetlands
© Neil Fifer
© WWF-Hong Kong
Lesser-known taxa, such as the orb-web spider (Gasteracantha kuhlii), are frequently found in Mai Po.
© WWF-Hong Kong

Helping Mai Po Nature Reserve 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 maximise 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
© WWF-Hong Kong
© WWF-Hong Kong

Project details

Thanks to a generous donation by HSBC, WWF-Hong Kong conducted a two-year baseline biodiversity survey with the following goals:
  1. To establish historical trends and foster local and regional involvement by collating existing biological information from Mai Po Nature Reserve and its nearby environs;
  2. To gather the most up-to-date biological information from the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar site through in-depth biological field surveys;
  3. To engage “citizen scientists” and enhance the biodiversity knowledge of the general public and secondary school and university students through participation in these biological surveys;
  4. To share wetland conservation knowledge and ideas by publishing related education materials and organising wetland-themed symposiums.
© WWF-Hong Kong
Students from two local secondary schools conduct aquatic fauna studies at Mai Po as part of a WWF biodiversity baseline survey
© WWF-Hong Kong
© WWF-Hong Kong
Tilapia fish is found in abundance at Mai Po’s gei wai, where WWF uses traditional gei wai harvesting methods to collect specimens for aquatic fauna surveys.
© WWF-Hong Kong
Supporting Organization