Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden - Wildlife Updates & Sightings (pdf)
by Gary Ades, Roger Kendrick, Paul Crow, Amanda Haig & Louis Cheung
Wildlife recording, surveys and rehabilitation at Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden (KFBG) have produced a number of interesting and unusual records since May 2004. In this report, KFBG Fauna staff provide some of the highlights of their findings.
General wildlife sightings are posted on the KFBG Wildlife Sightings Board on a fortnightly basis, with records provided by staff and visitors. Many records are generated by the Security team on night shifts.
(1) The following notable sighting records from Kwun Yum Shan (KYS) were posted between May 2004 and January 2005:
(2) Fauna Conservation Department Project News:
The monthly moth survey [RK] has continued unabated. Between July 2004 and December 2004 a rather low total of 492 species was recorded. Results from 29 January 2005 have not been fully processed yet. None the less, a good night’s recording yielded an estimated 150 species, including: Biston marginata (Geometridae, Ennominae), new to Hong Kong; the second Hong Kong record of Acrodontis hunana (Geometridae, Ennominae), the third HK record of Sugitania lepida (Noctuidae, Cuculliinae) and the first record since 1998 of Athetis bispurca Galsworthy, 1997 (Noctuidae, Hadeninae), a species endemic to Hong Kong and only previously recorded from Kadoorie Agricultural Research Centre and once each from KFBG and Shan Liu Road, Plover Cove. The species reported in the last Porcupine! (Ades et al., 2004) as new to Hong Kong, Tirathaba ruptilinea, was a mis-identification of Tirathaba mundella Walker, 1864 (M.J. Sterling, pers. comm.).
Romer’s Tree Frog [LC]
The monthly nocturnal survey on KFBG’s hillside continues. From March to October 2003, a total of 513 tadpoles were counted in the different breeding pots. But from June to September 2004, only 68 tadpoles were spotted. In addition, there were no eggs found in the 2004 surveys but the presence of tadpoles showed breeding activity is still happening. Most breeding pots and the habitats around were found to have naturally dried out by September 2004; one artificial breeding pot was found totally dried out in July 2004. July was the peak breeding time in 2003, and in September 2003 male frogs were still actively calling next to the breeding pots for courtship. But in September 2004, we couldn’t spot any adult frogs or hear any calls. Long periods of low rainfall from July may explain why there was so little activity later in the wet season.
Unfortunately, several breeding pots were found upside down in July, possibly because someone thought the pots were utilised by mosquito larvae that might spread Dengue Fever. (The Hong Kong Government started promoting the prevention programme on mosquito to prevent the spread of the fever during that period). The human disturbance and low rainfall during the breeding season may have contributed to the lower number of offspring observed in 2004.
(3) Wild Animal Rescue Centre (WARC) – update
The last eight months saw a decrease in the overall number of birds received at the WARC. This is a first since the set-up of the centre in 1994. It is suspected the generally ‘mild’ favourable weather this year (to early February) is a contributing factor.
However, as usual, we have been busy with a number of reptile related issues including confiscations, relocation & captive breeding.
The famous Yuen Long Crocodile, "Pui Pui", finished her quarantine and was moved to the large outdoor enclosure, where her anxious public could see her. She has since returned to her warm indoor environment to wait out the cold weather.
In late April 2004, 851 head of mixed species including Black Marsh Turtle (Siebenrockiella crassicollis), Malaysian Giant Turtle (Orlitia borneensis) & Malayan Flat-shelled Turtle (Notochelys platynota) were confiscated and received at the WARC. In mid October, 360 head of Fly River turtle (Carettochelys insulpta) were received.
Animal rehoming to organisations involved in captive breeding & conservation projects for those species included:
110 confiscated turtles sent to the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) USA & Europe collections.
201 Fly River Turtles (Carettochelys insulpta) were returned to their range country to Taman Akuarium, Indonesia.
2 African Spur Tortoises (Geochelone sulcata) and 1 Aldabra Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea) were sent to Singapore Zoological Garden for education and conservation purposes.
Captive breeding of the Three Banded Box Terrapin (Cuora trifasciata) & Vietnamese Leaf Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) continues. The chelonian conservation project achieved a major landmark on the 27 October, when the first ever Cuora trifasciata of wild HK parentage hatched.
Below is a list of some of the animals received since May 2004 that have been successfully rehabilitated and subsequently released.
(4) Feral Dogs & Native Wildlife – further news
On 3rd February 2005 a 17.1 kg female adult barking deer was found dead at KFBG Apiary. Approximately 70% of tissue was missing from the rear legs. The deer was not pregnant. It had a severe eye ulcer, which may have been part of the reason it was caught in the first place. There was a resting site in the open nearby, with half eaten mandarin orange. There was blood around the resting site and the deer was 2-3 meters away. It appears the deer was weak, possibly suffering and unable to choose a good resting site, with fatal consequences. The style of attack and flesh removal is similar to the previously recorded instances of feral dogs killing barking deer at KFBG (Ades et al., 2004). A flesh sample was taken from the deer and stored for future DNA work.
A stomach content analysis revealed the deer had been feeding on Farm produce – macadamia nuts and mandarins. There were also ferns in the stomach contents.
Ades, G.W.J., Kendrick, R.C., Crow, P., Haig, A., Cheung Y., Chow, P. & Griffiths, R. (2004). Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden – wildlife updates & sightings. Porcupine! 31: 18-22.