Horticulture and Amenities
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, a 5.6-hectare ‘green lung’ overlooking Central District, is a conservation centre for 13 species of endangered mammals, birds and reptiles. The zoo is home to around 340 birds of 70 species, of which more than 15 species have bred successfully.
The zoo is also home to 70 mammals of 17 species, mainly primates. In April 2012, five Emperor Tamarins came from Twycross Zoo through the assistance of the Studbook Keeper, for education and conservation purposes. In June 2012, two Common Squirrel Monkeys arrived at the gardens through the animal exchange programme.
Trees, shrubs, creepers and foliage belonging to more than 900 species thrive in the gardens. A herb garden was established in 1986 and a greenhouse in 1993. They hold about 500 species of herbs, orchids, ferns, bromeliads, and carnivorous and indoor plants.
An education and exhibition centre, completed in 2008, displays botanical and zoological specimens, and offers teaching facilities and guided visits.
Hong Kong Park, Kowloon Park, Tuen Mun Park and Yuen Long Park also feature zoological specimens.
Zoological and Horticultural Education
We have introduced a number of zoological and horticultural education programmes to raise public interest in conservation and green issues. Around 22 500 people participated in 373 zoological programmes in 2012-13, and around 22 000 took part in 404 horticultural programmes. Some 603 education programmes were organised for around 20 000 students.
During the year, the zoological and horticultural education exhibitions at Kowloon Park attracted around 9 300 and 9 000 visitors respectively. Roving exhibitions were held at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong Park, Kowloon Park, Tai Po Waterfront Park, Tuen Mun Park, Yuen Long Park, North District Park and Lai Chi Kok Park, while 12 courses were conducted to educate the public about conservation issues. The encouraging feedbacks received attest to the success of these programmes.
The department is responsible for the management and maintenance of around 500 000 trees, including 356 registered Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs). Some 97 OVTs were handed over to other departments in accordance with the integrated approach as promulgated by the Development Bureau.
Since May 2010 the department has had a new and improved tree management manpower structure in place, with six regional tree teams set up to carry out tree management work more systematically and effectively. In 2012-13 the department continued to conduct regular inspections on the trees under its care, and carried out tree maintenance/trimming work on some 83 000 trees.
Around 1 300 trees were planted under the department’s tree-planting programme in 2012-13, mostly during the rainy season (March to October) to ensure stable growth.
Some 68 per cent of these trees were planted in the New Territories, with the remainder planted in urban areas, including 700 along roadsides and 600 in parks and gardens. Apart from serving functionally for shade, screening, soil protection and conservation, the trees also green and beautify the environment.
In 2012-13, we planted around 800 flowering trees, including Bauhinia variegata, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Spathodea campanulata and Tabebuia chrysantha, which are characterised by brighter seasonal colours.
Horticultural and Landscape Services
As the department responsible for improving the urban environment and the landscape in general, we conduct research into the latest horticultural and arboricultural practices to update our policies and guidelines. We also periodically review our practices in order to maintain high standards in terms of our management and maintenance of community amenities.
As part of the effort to make Hong Kong greener, we closely monitor planting programmes in all districts, with the emphasis on preserving existing trees and nurturing new ones, including those planted on development sites. During the year, we successfully preserved more than 1 400 trees.
To achieve a balance between pleasing landscape and other factors, the department vets the landscape designs of various open and roadside spaces under development, including designs for the Roof Garden of the Cruise Terminal, the Kai Tak Development, and the Greening Master Plan for the New Territories. We are also responsible for upgrading the design of existing open and roadside spaces. In 2012-13, we enhanced the landscape design of more than 20 hectares of existing spaces, vacant government land and roadside amenities.