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 11 species of endangered mammals, birds and reptiles. The zoo is home to some 230 birds, 70 mammals and 20 reptiles.
More than 900 species of trees, shrubs, creepers and foliage thrive in the gardens, which include a herb garden and a greenhouse. In total, the gardens hold about 500 species of herbs, orchids, ferns, bromeliads, carnivorous plants and others.
An education and exhibition centre displays botanical and zoological specimens, provides teaching facilities and offers guided visits.
Hong Kong Park, Kowloon Park, Tuen Mun Park and Yuen Long Park also have zoological specimens on display.
One highlight of the year was a Meet the Zookeepers event, which was very well received by members of the public. Some 1 200 visitors took part in the activity in 2015-2016.
Zoological and Horticultural Education
We run a number of zoological and horticultural education programmes designed to raise public interest in conservation and green issues. Around 19 350 people participated in 381 zoological programmes in 2015-16, and around 26 300 took part in 428 horticultural programmes. In addition, some 690 education programmes were organised for around 21 100 students.
During the year, the zoological and horticultural education exhibitions at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens and at Kowloon Park attracted around 5 600 and 12 000 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 members of the public about conservation issues. The encouraging feedback received attest to the success of these programmes.
The department is responsible for the management and maintenance of around 510 000 trees, including 339 registered Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs) of the 481 OVTs currently in the Register.
Since January 1, 2016, the department has taken over from the Lands Department the responsibility of maintaining some 150 000 trees located on unleased or unallocated Government land within 10 metres of the kerbs of public roads (except expressways).
The department operates six regional tree teams that carry out tree management work. In 2015-16 the department continued to conduct regular inspections of the trees under its care, and carried out tree maintenance and trimming work on some 70 900 trees.
Around 1 900 trees were planted under the department's tree-planting programmes in 2015-16, mostly during the period from March to October. Some 74 per cent of the trees were planted in the New Territories, with the remainder planted in urban areas, including 1 400 along roadsides and 500 in parks and gardens. Among them, around 1 360 are flowering trees, including Bauhinia variegata, Spathodea campanulata, Tabebuia chrysantha, Xanthostemon chrysanthus, Tabebuia impetiginosa and Pongamia pinnata etc.
Horticultural and Landscape Services
The department is responsible for improving the urban environment and the landscape in general. To do this effectively, we keep our policies and guidelines up to date and in line with the latest horticultural and arboricultural practices. We also periodically review our practices in order to ensure that we maintain the highest standards in terms of our management and maintenance of community amenities.
As part of our efforts to make Hong Kong greener, we closely monitor planting programmes in all districts, placing an emphasis on preserving existing trees and nurturing new ones, including those planted on development sites. During the year, we successfully preserved around 2 700 trees.
The department assists in vetting the landscape designs for open spaces and roadside amenities under development, including the designs for the Central Kowloon Route, the Kai Tak Development, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge project, and the Greening Master Plan for the New Territories. We also initiate landscape improvements for existing venues and roadside amenities; in 2015-16, we carried out landscape improvement projects for about 15 hectares of these.
Sports Turf Management
The department established a specialised Sports Turf Management Section in 2014 to provide professional advice and technical support for the turf management and maintenance of the natural turf pitches managed by the department, and in particular the pitch at Hong Kong Stadium and other pitches designated for use by the Hong Kong Premier League. In addition, the department has stepped up the level of training it provides on turf management and maintenance. As a result of these measures, a measurable improvement in sports turf quality has been achieved at pitches designated for use by the Hong Kong Premier League, and also at local community natural turf pitches.