Gary Ades, Roger Kendrick, Amanda Haig, Tan Kit Sun,
Peter Paul van Dijk & Captain Wong
wildlife sightings were posted on the KFBG Wildlife Sightings Board on
a fortnightly basis up to mid-April 2006, with records provided by staff
and visitors. Many records were generated by the Security team on night
shifts. From the middle of April, a new board was introduced at the New
Reception, which is updated more frequently with regularly seen wildlife;
more unusual sightings are now posted on the KFBG website (www.kfbg.org).
The following sighting records from Kwun Yum Shan (KYS) and elsewhere
in KFBG (see map
in Porcupine! 33 for locations) were posted between October 2005
and May 2006:
2October, an adult wild boar with 3 piglets behind the Conservation
8October, an adult masked palm civet with 5 young civets at the
16October, a Chinese cobra eating a frog below Kwun Yum Shan summit.
26October, three Malayan porcupine at the Upper Canteen.
2November, three young masked palm civets near the Heli-pad.
4November, a wild boar with 5 piglets at the Parrot Sanctuary.
November, two masked palm civet at Magnolia Falls.
10November, two wild boar at the Golden Pavilion.
15November, a coral snake at the Apiary.
18November, a masked palm civet near Orchid Haven.
25November, three Malayan porcupine near the Upper Canteen.
December, two small wild boar at the heli-pad.
9December, three wild boar at the Parrot Sanctuary.
13December, two barking deer near the Post Office Pillars.
17December, a mother wild boar & 5 piglets near Raptor Sanctuary;
one masked palm civet in tree near road junction above Signpost Corner;
one Malayan porcupine on the road halfway between Post Office Pillars
and the Butterfly Garden; a small Indian (seven banded) civet near
the Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion.
20December, a mother wildboar with 5 piglets at parrot sanctuary
2January, a masked palm civet at the T.S.Woo Pavilion.
10January, three Malayan porcupine at the Apiary.
17January, a leopard cat at Cock's Summer Camp.
22January, a masked palm civet at the Heli-pad.
24January, flowering trees near T.S.Woo Memorial Pavilion attracted
an orange-bellied leafbird, a verditer flycatcher and a forktailed
sunbird to feed (Fig. 1).
1. Orange-bellied Leaf bird, Fortailed Sunbird and Verditer Flycatcher,
at KFBG, 24 January, 2006.
26January, a verditer flycatcher at the Old Deer Haven and Constructed
January, a wild boar with 5 piglets at Great Falls arch.
February, a mother wild boar with four piglets at the Administration
February, a masked palm civet at Magnolia Falls.
13February, three Malayan porcupine at Upper Canteen.
25February, two Indian moon moths (Actias selene), one
at Misha's Bungalow and one at the Butterfly Garden
26February, a baby Mountain racer snake (Fig. 2) at the Chicken
Houses; a juvenile red mountain racer was photographed in the early
afternoon near the Norman Wright Chicken House.
27February, a barking deer at Signpost Corner.
28February, a mother wildboar with three piglets above the Raptor
2. A juvenile Red Mountain Racer (Photo: KFBG)
1April, a Japanese pipistrelle bat; Butterfly Garden - visual
and on call with detector; a Himalayan leaf nosed bat; west ridge
close to post office pillars - visual and on call with detector; one
adult wild boar crossing east ridge road near mandarin orchards; one
Malayan porcupine entering rock caves on Western ridge (marked by
tracking powder); several collared scops owls calling throughout the
Farm; lesser spiny frog; calling in upper stream near Magnolia Reservoir;
a Chinese water snake in the Lotus Pond; several Hong Kong newts in
the Lotus Pond and lower stream and one masked palm civet on the Eastern
ridge road between Orchid Haven and Signpost Corner.
3April, a yellow-bellied weasel in the lower stream area was
photographed by a KFBG visitor Mahler Ka – this is the first confirmed
record of this mammal at KFBG and one of only a handful of sightings
in Hong Kong (Fig. 3).
3. A yellow-bellied Weasel (Photo: Mahler Ka)
14April, an atlas Moth at the Lam Kam Road car park pick up /
set down area wall.
April, a mountain stream snake in the lower stream near the Streamlife
Display and an Anderson’s stream snake in the Lotus Pond; several
birdwing butterflies (Troides helena) were seen flying in the
lower farm area.
7May, a Chinese cobra near the Butterfly Garden.
10May, a young Malayan porcupine was photographed at Orchid Haven.
addition to the general sightings, Peter Paul van Dijk, Director of the
Conservation International CABS Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Conservation
Program, visited KFBG in early March and made a couple of forays onto
the hillside, noting the following:
Kong Newt – at least four individuals seen in pool by Native Mammal
Display. One modest-sized adult (male?) animal seen bending its tail
forward and fanning towards another, larger animal.
cf. pelodytoides – several calling animals heard in upper stream
area. Group of three seen besides rock on sand right at water’s edge;
photographed. Another calling animal traced to a mud & tree root
clump on top of large boulder in streambed (also photographed).
Kong Cascade Frog – well over a dozen animals seen on various cascade/waterslide
sections in the upper stream, some photographed. Big-headed
Turtle – three individuals seen in the upper Farm area.
paraspinosa / exilispinosa – almost a dozen animals seen in the
upper section of the stream. Magnificent eye shine, very wary, none
could be easily approached to within photographing distance.
Frog – one small adult seen in stream by Native Mammal Display.
cf. megacephalum – Several distinctive tadpoles (olive,
heavy-bodied, white nose spot) seen in a water lily bowl at the entrance
to the Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion (600 m a.s.l.).
Turtle - three individuals seen in the upper Farm area.
mammal, probably civet (based on eye shine, modest size, no hoof sounds
but noisy scrambling up steep slope), as well as heard a larger mammal
(barking deer? pig?) run off on a slope, and heard a barking deer
run off in the orchards, barking several times when it was at a safe
Kong Newt – One seen at 14.45 walking on concrete walkway besides
Streamlife Display, with a dozen ants crawling over it. Thin animal
with regenerated toes on one foot. Removed ants, placed at streamside
for photographs, it then walked & swam away into the pool. At
night, one large animal seen in koi pond, missing left front foot.
Photographed. A few more animals seen in same stream pool as 4 March
Common Toad – lots everywhere along the roads, drains, streamside,
apparently mostly on the move towards breeding pools. A few calls
heard at lower farm area.
Kong Cascade Frog – one large animal seen at upper part of stream
section visited, on steep waterslide.
Frog - Several small individuals at Wildlife Pond, giving ‘kwek’ calls
– very small animals for mature calling males – social calls?
Fauna Conservation Department Project News:
monthly moth survey [Roger Kendrick]
trap recording has taken place on seven evenings or nights between late
October 2005 and mid May 2006. At least 440 species were recorded, not
including data for the last two sessions awaiting analysis At least one
macro moth species was recorded in Hong Kong for the first time: Thinopteryx
crocoptera [Geometridae], in the Butterfly Garden on 26November
2005. In addition, several older records have been verified, resulting
in two new species to Hong Kong – Scopula pulchellata [Geometridae]
from the Butterfly Garden on 24April 2003 and Marapana
pulverata [Noctuidae] also from the Butterfly Garden on 12 May 2001.
Animal Rescue Centre (WARC) [Amanda Haig,
Tan Kit Sun]
number of birds admitted to the centre over the winter period was less
than 1/3 of the usual intake. It is suspected that this may be due to
the current Avian Influenza situation where birds are being routed directly
to HK Govt animal holding facilities.
construction of a long-awaited flight (Fig. 4) test cage was completed
in late March. Its design, uniquely conceived by Fauna Conservation staff,
comprises four recycled China Light Power wooden telephone poles, a cable-suspended
soft netting structure and sand covered floor. The design prevents occupants
from damaging themselves during flight-testing and can easily be taken
down during times of inclement weather to prevent damage.
Fig. 4. New
flight test enclosure and releasd Crested Serpent Eagle (Photo: KFBG)
reported in the last edition of Porcupine!, the Crested Serpent
Eagle Spilornis cheela that had suffered a hip fracture having
been struck by a truck at Man Kam To made a full recovery and was released
in late November 2005.
rehoming to range country organisations involved in captive breeding &
conservation projects for those species included:
critically endangered Vietnamese pond turtles (Fig. 5), Mauremys annamensis,
which included two adults rescued from Hong Kong markets and 32 offspring
born in captivity, were returned by Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden to
Vietnam on 10 May. The returnees and their offspring were transferred
to the Turtle Conservation Center (TCC) at Cuc Phuong National Park where
the government runs a conservation program for critically endangered species,
including the Vietnamese pond turtle. "Eventually, the turtles may
be released in central Vietnam where they originated", says Bui Dang
Phong, manager of the TCC for Cuc Phuong National Park. Mr. Phong says
he is elated to see the turtles finally make it back to Vietnam. See the
website link for further information.
Sham Chung wetland (Fig. 6) was destroyed and converted into a golf-course
turf area in 1997 (Porcupine!19). This wetland was regarded as one of the top five freshwater
wetlands in Hong Kong in 1996 and it was identified as one of the 12 ecological
hotspots in the New Hong Kong Nature Conservation Policy in 2004 [for
related article, see p. 27].
Since its destruction
in 1997, the lowland has been further trashed through mangrove cutting,
unauthorized river training and further farmland destruction. However,
no enforcement action has been undertaken, as most areas are designated
private lands and no suspects have been observed during enforcement activities.
On 3 February 2006,
a Development Permission Area (DPA) plan was gazetted. This offers statutory
authorization for the Planning Department to undertake enforcement and
prosecution in regard to unauthorized developments on private lands. The
planning intention of Sham Chung, a pocket area surrounded by Sai Kung
West Country Park, is to conserve the areas of high significance and rural
character, as well as to maintain the unique landscape and cultural heritage
of the area. According to this plan, Sham Chung will provide housing for
In the DPA plan,
Sham Chung is zoned as follows:
Area" (16.09 ha): hillside, a lowland stream in the southwest
and farmlands on higher ground,
(2.67 ha): Villages at the foot of the hills at the boundary of the
(8.33 ha): the turf area (previous freshwater wetland) in the south
and some lowland streams,
Type Development" (V-zone, 2.64 ha): villages in the east; coastal
wetland; abandoned fields in the north, and part of a lowland stream,
Protection Area" (2.64 ha): mangrove and coastal wetland
zoning of habitats
According to the
findings of a KFBG site visit on 29 March 2006, the coastal wetland is
zoned as "V-zone" and "Agriculture", while a lowland
stream with mature riparian vegetation also falls within the boundary
of "V-zone". Coastal wetland and lowland stream areas are not
ideal places to build small houses.
2. The environmental
Most of the previous
freshwater wetland area is zoned as "Agriculture". If it had
not been converted to grow turf in 1997, no one could argue against the
wetland being zoned as a "Conservation Area" due to its high
ecological value. Areas zoned as "Agriculture" are often considered
as ‘landbanks’ for further development.
3. Sham Chung - a
Like similar planning
forecasts in the rural NT, the projection of 570 residents at Sham Chung
is unrealistic. No one is likely to build small houses at a place with
no access road.
Taking the case of
Tai Long Wan as an example, although the Planning Department’s population
projections dropped from 200 in October 2001 to 117 in 2006, the actual
rural population is still less than 10! This indicates that demand for
small house development in remote areas with poor access, i.e., no road,
is very low, although land has already been reserved for them.
So, why do we need
to reserve a large area for a population of 570 residents that does not
and is unlikely to ever exist? Also, how many small houses and how much
infrastructure should be built for housing this expected population? Is
this a good use of taxpayers’ money? Could the natural beauty, biological
diversity and rural character of Sham Chung still be preserved if there
are 570 residents?
4. Stream protection
- buffer area
It is good to note
that a lowland stream is zoned as a "Conservation Area" due
to the presence of rare freshwater wildlife. However, as there is no buffer
area to separate the stream from the nearby "Agriculture" area,
any inappropriate agricultural activity could cause a direct impact on
the aquatic wildlife in the stream.
side to the story
While green groups
suggest keeping Sham Chung as natural as possible, the SCMP reported on
18 April that there is plan to include a helicopter landing pad (later
denied by the planner), a holiday camp, a resort-style hotel, houses,
a picnic area, a private club, a Catholic church, a recreation centre
and sport centres at Sham Chung. These urbanization developments are claimed
to be compatible with the area's rural setting, and amazingly with the
recognition of Sham Chung as one of the 12 sites under the New Nature
Conservation Policy. This seems completely illogical!
Apart from zoning
the lowland habitats as green zones, the "V-zone" boundary could
be much reduced as re-development of old houses at the original villages
in land zoned proposed as Green Belt may meet the demand, if any. It is
also suggested that the Town Planning Board should encourage wetland restoration
at the previous freshwater wetland area by giving a ‘green’ zoning to
this disturbed area.
An in-depth article
on this issue has been published in the April 2006 issue of Green Country
(volume 59, pp 2-9).