Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest zoological and botanical centres in the world, and the oldest park in Hong Kong.[1] Founded in 1864, its first stage was opened to the public in 1871.[2] It occupies an area of 5.6 hectares (14 acres),[citation needed] in Central,[3] on the northern slope of Victoria Peak.[4]

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Memorial Gate for British Chinese Soldiers
22°16′40″N 114°9′23″E / 22.27778°N 114.15639°E / 22.27778; 114.15639
Date opened1871; 153 years ago (1871)
LocationCentral, Hong Kong
Land area5.6 hectare (14 acres)
No. of animals700+
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Traditional Chinese香港動植物公園
Simplified Chinese香港动植物公园

Similar to Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens provides a natural environment and atmosphere. While physically smaller than Hong Kong Park it contains more plants, animals and facilities.

History edit

1864 view of the gardens, with Government House and Victoria Harbour in the background.
Garden Fountain at night
The Pavilion is the oldest structure in HKZBG. It was built in 1866

The park was previously named Bing Tau Fa Yuen (「兵頭花園」).[2] "Bing Tau" literally means "the head of the soldiers" or the "Commander-in-Chief". According to Hong Kong's Leisure and Cultural Services Department, it was nicknamed as such by the city's Cantonese community, as it was the former site of the city's Government House.[5] Others said Bing Tau was just the phonetic transliteration of the first two syllables of the word botanical. In the old days, many lovers liked to go there on a date. During the Japanese occupation, it was renamed as Taishō Kōen (Hiragana: たいしょうこうえん, Kanji: 大正公園).

The founder of The Garden Company Limited discussed at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens and came up with the idea of starting a company; therefore, it was named after "Garden" and its Cantonese transliteration "Garden". The park was closed from 1931 to 1933 to allow for the construction of a reservoir under the park.[6]

In the past, many world famous people visited the park under the name of Wildlife Fund, such as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1983) and Princess Anne of England (1988).

Memorials edit

Bronze statue of King George VI

At the southern entrance to the gardens, at Upper Albert Road, is the Chinese War Memorial, dedicated to the Chinese who died assisting the Allies during World War I and World War II. The inscription on the lintel reads: "In Memory of the Chinese who died loyal to the Allied cause in the Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945". The granite arch in the shape of a paifang was erected in 1928. Reference to the Second World War was added later.[7]

A bronze statue of King George VI was erected in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of British colonial rule over Hong Kong (1841–1941).[8]

Plants edit

Hong Kong orchid tree
Chinese sweet gum
Gloriosa superba

There are more than 1,000 species of plants in the gardens,[9] mostly indigenous to tropical and sub-tropical regions. It includes some rare species like the dawn redwood and the local Ailanthus. Besides these, some species which can produce flowers throughout the year can also be found there, like the Hong Kong orchid tree.

Different Species are grown in the Thematic gardens in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

Bamboo Garden edit

This garden grows about ten times bigger than other gardens.

Camellia Garden edit

Hong Kong Camellia

More than 30 species are grown in this garden. Crapnell's camellia (Camellia crapnelliana), Grantham's camellia (Camellia granthamiana) and Hong Kong camellia (Camellia hongkongensis) are native to Hong Kong.

Some introduced rare species such as Yunnan camellia (Camellia reticulata) and golden camellia (Camellia nitidissima and Camellia euphlebia) can also be found in this garden.

Magnolia Garden edit

Yulan magnolia

This garden grows 5 species of magnolia:

Greenhouse edit

The entrance of greenhouse
Visitors in the greenhouse

Various species of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, vines and carnivorous plants are grown in the greenhouse.

Palm Garden edit

Worm eye view of a mature Royal palm

This garden grows over 30 species under 22 genera of the palm family.

Bauhinia Garden edit

This garden grows 8 species including Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana), purple camel's foot (Bauhinia purpurea) and camel's foot tree (Bauhinia variegata).

Azalea Garden edit

Westland's rhododendron

This garden grows over 10 azalea species including red azalea (Rhododendron simsii), lovely azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum), purple azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum var. phoeniceum) and white azalea (Rhododendron mucronatum), those are native to Hong Kong. There are also rare species such as yellow azalea (Rhododendron molle) and Westland's rhododendron (Rhododendron moulmainense).

Herb Garden edit

Various species of herb are grown in the garden.

Animals edit

golden lion tamarin
A taxidermy specimen of Siu Fa, the female jaguar

The size of the garden precludes the keeping of very large mammal species such as giraffes. Nevertheless, the collection of primates is varied, including such diverse creatures such as the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth, Red necked wallaby, golden lion tamarin, gibbon, orangutan, ring-tailed lemur and black-and-white ruffed lemur. Apart from the plants, there are over 400 birds, 50 mammals and 20 reptiles.

Mammals and reptiles edit

African spurred tortoise
Radiated tortoise
Chinese alligator

A taxidermy specimen of Siu Fa, the female jaguar that lived in Hong Kong for nearly 20 years is on display at the Education and Exhibition Centre of HKZBG from 5 March 2009.[10]

A pigeon pair of Bornean orangutan twins were born in the HKZBG in July 2011, joining the big family of the gardens. This is the first-ever successful breeding of Bornean orangutan twins in the HKZBG, bringing to five the total number of this primate in the gardens[11]

To enhance public understanding and appreciation of all living creatures, the two female meerkats introduced to the HKZBG are aged 4 and 5, and are housed in the newly-decorated "Meerkat's Home".[12]

In 2020, The mammal and reptile section of the Zoological & Botanical Gardens were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The mammal families at the gardens expanded during the epidemic.

To celebrate its 150s anniversary in 2021, a female Asian small-clawed otter and red necked wallaby introduced to the HKZBG.[13]

Yellow-cheeked gibbons, ring-tailed lemurs, white-faced saki, black-and-white ruffed lemurs and cotton-top tamarins all welcomed new additions to the family.[14]

The reptiles are primarily snakes, crocodilians, and turtles such as the African spurred tortoise, radiated tortoise, Chinese alligator and Burmese python.

Birds edit

Yellow-casqued hornbill
Malayan peacock-pheasant
Black-faced spoonbill

Over 100 avian species have successfully reared young, including the Japanese red-crowned crane, peacock pheasant and the Bali mynah, all of which are highly endangered in the wild.

Just outside the greenhouse are several large aviaries housing species of waterfowl, such as the wood duck, flamingo, blue crane and intensely-coloured scarlet ibis, perching atop a man-made waterfall.

There are also terrestrial birds; many of them small, and with several species from East Asia and Africa. Yellow-casqued hornbill are among the HKZBG's larger avian species.[15]

An injured black-faced spoonbill was rescued in Nam Sang Wai by staff of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and transferred to the KFBG Wild Animal Rescue Centre in March 2018. This spoonbill, which was unable to fly after an operation, will be able to join the other waterfowl at HKZBG, and so will have excellent human-provided care as well as companions in captivity.[16]

To celebrate its 150th anniversary this year, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens will hold a number of free public activities, in addition to adding black-crowned cranes, great white pelicans, and great curassow, in addition to bird-watching platforms.[13]

The small brick buildings that house some of the smaller birds were once staff quarters, for Chinese workers at the park. These were recently renovated, resulting in the destruction of a row of defunct Victorian gas lamp posts; these may have been the last remaining such lamps in Hong Kong, and possibly in all of East Asia. [citation needed]

Animal welfare concerns edit

Bornean orangutan in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

The gardens have come under fire for 'outdated' facilities, and ‘inadequate, overcrowded conditions’ for the animals housed within its confines.[17]

In 2015, the South China Morning Post reported that the Kadoorie Institute, the SPCA, Animals Asia Foundation and the orangutan foundation Orangutanaid all have expressed “sincere doubts over the welfare of its animals,” and recommended that the park be “returned to its original status as a botanical garden".[18] Later that year, Jane Goodall expressed her concern over the “treatment of orangutans in Hong Kong's zoo", saying that they were “not in a good situation", and adding that "large animals in small cages with nothing to do are not happy animals".[19]

Transport edit

The main entrance is located at Upper Albert Road. A number of bus routes give access to the facility.[20] Admission is free to all parts of the Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens | Hong Kong Tourism Board". www.discoverhongkong.com. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b HKZBG website: Background Archived 2008-12-26 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens - How to Access".
  4. ^ "Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens - Background". www.lcsd.gov.hk. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens - Introduction". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  6. ^ "RTHK-香港故事(第19輯)04-百年商埠-2012-3-12". YouTube. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  7. ^ Lau, Ka-fai, Joseph, "Planning of interpretation strategy for Chinese style : 'Pai-type portal structure' before 1941 on Hong Kong Island" Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, Dissertation, University of Hong Kong, September 2005
  8. ^ The Film Services Office: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "HKZBG website: Plants". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  10. ^ Jaguar Siu Fa's specimen goes on display at HKZBG https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200903/05/P200903050142.htm
  11. ^ "First Bornean orangutan twins born in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens" https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201107/12/P201107120215.htm
  12. ^ Meerkats join Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens family https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201612/23/P2016122300323.htm
  13. ^ a b "香港動植物公園150週年引入水獺、黑冕鶴 舉辦一連串免費公眾活動". 20 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Protecting primates at HK zoo".
  15. ^ "Zoological and Botanical Gardens". 9 September 2007.
  16. ^ Facebook article:"Rescued Black-faced Spoonbill Rehomed to Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Hong Kong"
  17. ^ "Hong Kong zoo under fire for "outdated" facilities". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Small cages and nothing to do: Hong Kong Zoo animals 'trapped in the 19th century'". South China Morning Post. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Zoo's animals are 'trapped in 19th century'. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. ^ "Jane Goodall slams orang-utan conditions at city zoo". South China Morning Post. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  20. ^ "How to Access". Leisure & Cultural Services Department. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.

Further reading edit

External links edit