Our History | WWF Hong Kong

© Will Burrard-Lucas / WWF-US

Our History

Found in 1961, WWF (then known as the World Wildlife Fund) was registered as a charity in Switzerland with the aim of conserving wildlife and habitats. In the years to come, we have broadened this focus to the wider implications of man's activities on the environment. 

Here are the milestones for WWF-Hong Kong (then known as the World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong) on how we build a future which humans can live in harmony with nature: 

1981 – WWF establishes office in Hong Kong, with a mission to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. 

1984 – We start managing Mai Po Nature Reserve. To raise funds to acquire geiwai and restore their ecological value, we organize the first Big Bird Race.

1985 – We organize school tours of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, which laid the foundation for our Educational Programmes, which later became our Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Progamme for students and teachers. 

1988 – We establish the Hoi Ha Wan Committee and begin our long campaign to establish Hong Kong’s Marine Parks. 

1992 –We organize our first Walk for Nature (the then “Discover Mai Po”) event and attracts about 3,000 participants every year. Not only can it raise fund for our conservation and education work, it also lets public know more about our work and Mai Po Nature Reserve.

1995 – A total of 1,500 hectare of wetlands in Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay— an important stop-over of the Asia-Australasian Flyway—is being designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" under the Ramsar Convention. 

1996 – After eight years of campaigning, Hoi Ha Wan has become one of Hong Kong's first three marine parks in July, 1996. We participate actively and support the Government in drawing up guidelines and enabling legislation for marine parks and reserves. 

2000 – We launch the Corporate Membership Programme(CMP) which helps companies adapt into a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable practice.

2003 – We establish the Jockey Club HSBC WWF Hong Kong Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre, which is Asia’s “First Classroom on the Sea”, promoting the importance of marine conservation and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). 

2004 – We launch the biggest marine conservation campaign Save Our Seas (SOS), drawing public attention to our rapidly deteriorating marine environment. 

2007 –
  • We launch Climateers’ first Hong Kong-specific Carbon Footprint calculator, which aims to help Hong Kongers to combat climate change.
  • We launch the East Asia’s first Seafood Guide to promote green and sustainable seafood. Consumers can hence purchase responsibly.

2008 – We get 60,000 people to sign our SOS petition, and this goes a long way to persuading the government to adopt effective marine conservation measures and sustainable fisheries management .

2009 – We introduce Earth Hour in Hong Kong, taking part in casting a vote for international action on climate change with hundreds of millions around the world. Around 3 million Hong Kong people turned out their lights, along with 1,800 buildings, 600 companies and organizations and 160 schools and universities.

2010 – We partner with a number of green groups in Hong Kong to urge the government taking action on the eco-vandalism in Tai Long Sai Wan . The campaign leads the area to become designated country park area in 2013.

2011 – Mai Po Nature Reserve records a record-high of breeding Black-winged Stilt— at least 58 pairs have been found in April, which is a new high count for Hong Kong
– We launch the Seafood Guide app in November.

2012 – After years of advocacy work and with public support, we help convince the government to adopt a trawling ban in our territorial waters. Our marine ecosystem can finally have a chance to recover after being ecologically depleted by decades of overfishing.

2013 – 
  • In June, We receive the BirdLife International Conservation Achievement Award , thanks to our achievement in conserving Black-faced spoonbill.
  • We launch “Vote Ruby” campaign in July to raise the awareness of the plight Chinese white dolphins are facing. We receive more than 50,000 pledges in January 2014 and call for the immediate designation of two marine parks at Southwest Lantau and Soko Islands
  • Since 2007, WWF-Hong Kong has been promoting and educating the public on shark conservation . After years of work, we help convince the HKSAR Government to issue a shark fin internal ban for their official dining.
  • We and more than 20 environmental groups form the “Save Our Country Parks” group to lobby the government to safeguard Hong Kong’s precious country parks and enclaves.

2014 – Pushing forward the momentum gained from the plastic pellet clean-up action in 2012 in tackling marine litter issues, we launch the Coastal Watch programme in June, together with other green groups to contribute to the health of marine environment and the Save our Seas initiative.

2015 – We launch the “Discovering Biodiversity in Hong Kong Wetlands” project and recruit “citizen scientists” to join an in-depth biological surveys across the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar site which aims to establish trends and discover the causes of observed changes in wildlife populations.

2016 – We initiate a petition and launch the “Rewrite their future” campaign, calling on Hong Kong government to ban the ivory trade in the city through law and legislation and hence help conserve African Elephants. We receive more than 90,000 signatures. The Chief Executive announced in his policy address that the government will actively explore phasing out the domestic ivory trade.