ROBERT I. FERGUSON
Robert Ferguson is an international award winning photographer, with images appearing in international and local publications.
He publishes a wildlife blog www.wildcreatureshongkong.org,
or 香港野 Hong Kong WildCreatures
He works on content and wildlife photography with different local conservation groups. These have included: Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens, Greenpeace, Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre, Aquameridien, The Children’s Discovery Museum, WWF, Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong Wetland Park and AFCD.
He is also the author of a number of local HK wildlife publications; see "SHOP".
Robert has lived with his family in Hong Kong for the last 25 years, working in Media, as GM for Advanstar and then Ringier in Asia, and most recently for The Economist and Reuters. He left full time employment in mid 2018 and now volunteers part time with a foodbank NGO, Feedinghongkong.
LinkedIn profile here.
BEHIND THE LENS
The internet is (almost) infinite, full of more great pictures and content than one could ever hope to absorb; we're here to help narrow it down and focus on Hong Kong wildlife.
Hong Kong was once home to exotic mammals, including: tigers, leopards, pangolin, and other large and wonderful creatures, and it provides the base for our hikes and our eternal hunt to find the best of Hong Kong’s wildlife. We’ve continually explored the subtropical forest, paths and plains, finding numerous insects, reptiles, amphibians, as well as porcupines, masked palm civits, wild boar, ferret badgers, leopard cats and mouse deer. We’ve seen blue-tailed skinks basking in the sun, tiger beetles scuttling on the path in front of us, watched cobras hunt, hundreds of butterflies take flight, huge pythons curled in water catchments, civet cats crawl along branches, and porcupines rustling in the night. And of course all those wonderful birds... the brilliant yellow Japanese white-eyes, the dazzling emerald Sunbirds, chatty Bulbuls and the ubiquitous large and noisy swooping black Kites riding the airwaves.
LOOK, FIND, DISCOVER, LEARN, LOVE, PROTECT.
There is still a way to go for wildlife education and promotion in Hong Kong, although there is a growing movement to protect the beauty of our natural environment and the animals that we live with. We want to be part of this ecological movement and celebrate Hong Kong’s abundant natural world.
None of these images have been photoshopped. An image processing software is used called Lightroom to organise and convert the files from RAW, and to crop and do basic editing. The images here have been reduced in quality for better/quicker viewing on-screen. Please follow the links where appropriate for a full image. And contact me for prints, posters and postcards.
PHOTOGRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY & TESTIMONIALS
Books, booklets and other media:
Please see https://www.wildcreatureshongkong.org/shop for a complete list and details.
May 2023: Wildcreatures of Hong Kong Book. 360pp
The Bugs of Hong Kong Book. 320pp
Animal ID Guide Booklets: Wildcreatures Hong Kong vol I & II, and in traditional Chinese.
The Field Guide to Hong Kong Snakes (co-producer).
Puzzles, Wildlife Bingo, other games, etc. in cooperation with Lion Rock Press.
Photographic exhibitions, publications, and co-operations:
- Hong Kong Science Museum; Biodiversity Wall
- WWF Mai Po Visitor Centre
- Hong Kong Wetland Park
April 2022: Video, written feature, and fundraising campaign for Greenpeace Hong Kong
October 2021: HK University: Exhibition, Ecology in the Making (1816-present)
March 2021: Hong Kong Science Museum: Exhibition, Ecology in the Making (1816-present)
March 2021: Co-produced "The Field Guide to Hong Kong Snakes"
March 2021: Exhibition “Faces of Lung Fu Shan” HK University. Here.
February 2021: Organiser for the LNEC bioblitz.
February 2021: Wildcreatures in Hong Kong volume II published.
January 2021; Traditional Chinese translation of WildCreatures Hong Kong v.1
July 2020. The Guide to Nature Guides in Hong Kong.
April 2020. Wildcreatures in Hong Kong booklet. 100 species ID for the layman.
June 2019 . Official photographer; bio-blitz at Lung Fu Shan (HK University)
March 2019 Sai Kung exhibition “Portraits of Wildcreatures” - sold 56 photos.
7 photos at “Zhiru-Natural” art exhibition that toured Hong Kong in 2018, organised by the AFCD
Permanent photo exhibition in Matilda Hospital, the Peak.
2020-2021: November: i)Nature Puzzle. ii)Snakes and Ladders in Hong Kong iii)wildlife puzzle iv)Wildlife Bingo v)Habitat Ludo. All games a co-operation with Lion Rock Press. See "SHOP".
Photographic judging and courses:
2023: Pending Photography masterclass on-line resource for Greenpeace
May 2023: Judge for Young Geographer of the Year, for Royal Geographic Society.
2022: LumiVoce workshop and photo judge
November 2021: Kadoorie Farm Photo competition
October 2021: Envioro/HKU club competition
2020 & 2021: Cathay Photographic Club Nature competition.
2018/9: Taught 2 photographic courses at Kadoorie farm and botanical gardens.
Photographic awards and recognition:
No photo competition entries since late 2021.
February 2022: Nature's Best: Backyard. Two photos: Highly commended/final 40
September 2021: CUPOTY: one photo final round.
September 2021: The Nature Conservancy’s 2021 Global Photo Contest. Final round.
March 2021: Hong Kong Science Museum: Exhibition, Ecology in the Making (1816-present)
March 2021: WPOTY one photo in final round. 2022: Three photos in final round.
January 2021: Share the view: 11 photos semifinalist. One top 250. One honourable mention. December 2020: Viewbug; Winter Award for Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird photo.
November 2020: NANPA 10 photos semifinalist. 2 in top 250 and one in top 100 published.
August 2020: 2 photos shortlisted in Close Up Photographer of the year.
First prize in People’s Choice award In Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2020. 7,000 entries from 117 different countries. Photograph. Coverage: this from the BBC.
April 2020, “streaked spider hunter” Viewbug 2020 Choice award.
5 photos selected in the final round of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2019.
2019 exhibition “Portraits of Wildcreatures” sold 56 photos.
7 photos at “Zhiru-Natural” art exhibition that toured Hong Kong in 2018, organised by the AFCD
“Herps through the lens” by HKRS, category award winner. 2018
“Small but mighty” competition, Kadoorie Farm, category award winner. 2018.
Permanent photo exhibition in Matilda Hospital, the Peak. 2012.
First prize “Tout feu, tout flamme”, Swiss national photo competition. 1982.
2022: Featured in the
TRIBUTE TO HONG KONG PUZZLE
Selected interviews and coverage in media:
Greenpeace feature and video. 04/2022. Link
HK Economic Journal. Full page in paper. 04/2021. Link. (paywall)
CNN; Call to Nature 02/2021. Online feature
Hong Kong’s #1 newspaper: Apple Daily Video and print. 12/2020
South China Morning Post: 03/2019 SCMP. And 04/2020. SCMP
HKFreePress. HKsnakeID launch interview. Link
Oriental Daily, and video: Link.
RTHK Radio 3. Interviews. Link.
Expat living: Link
Zolima City Magazine. Link
Hong Kong Free Press (for HKsnakeID) Link
Shooting it RAW, interview: Link
TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS
Various society talks, including; Hong Kong Royal Geographic Society; Green Drinks; Froggy Kindergaten; HKU student body; Greenpeace; 3Herissons; Lee Woo Sing College; Japanese International School, etc etc.
Big thanks for your time and input yesterday, we really appreciate it. The kids were really fascinated. In case no one has ever said it before, you have an excellent presentation voice! It resonates and encourages your listeners to engage - keep up the great work! The examples you chose and presentation skills for a young audience were really effective. I hope we can work with you again soon, to ensure that we can create the HK eco-warriors that we dream of! Take care and thanks for not leaving a snake in my office.
Mr Simon Walton Principal
Japanese International School
3 Herissons via Greenpeace:
Feedback: "It was really interesting!!!!!!! Just got some direct feedback from parents even(normally they don’t), it is really inspiring, not only to the kids.
Thanks a lot! Best, Ginger"
ADDITIONAL EDUCATION WORK
'17 Amaze-Wing Facts About The Mountain Bulbul For Kids'. Image of bird.
Beavers Scout Group.
Sai Kung - Nature Challenge; videos and challenges.
LeapFrog Kindergarten: Video & Nature challenge.
Skip Kindergarten: Video & Nature Challenge.
Art Demo video
Based on my image of a black-eared kite
2nd March 2022. HK Gardening Society.
Kellett school; talk on The Predators of Hong Kong
RTHK Radio Interviews x3
PEACE - Morning workshop
Workshops for Lumivoce
Photoworkshop at Kadoorie Farm
CITY UNIVERSITY TALK - 136 people
TESTIMONIALS/FEEDBACK FROM A TALK TO STUDENTS:
Feedback from Kevin Chen:
It was a blessing to have Mr. Ferguson sharing his experience and thoughts on wildlife conservation. I am very impressed with the stunning photos you presented as I am also a fellow photography enthusiast. However, you have taken beyond merely capturing the beauty of wildlife but actually caring for the plants and animals that you encountered.
It is very unfortunate to learn that the authority hasn’t done much to mitigate the ecological disasters ahead of us. Although some people have good intentions to promote wildlife conservation, they are not well educated and trained enough to do it correctly as you mentioned the LNEC case. Sadly, governments often prioritize areas and sectors that could bring the most economic benefits and thus sacrificing the attention and resources that could be spent on wildlife management and education. More awareness needs to be raised among different age groups and all walks of life to further reform the current practice before it is too late.
Still, I am optimistic about the future after seeing Mr. Ferguson’s enthusiasm and I am very grateful for this opportunity to look at the nature from a different perspective. Thank you for passing on the good spirit!
Thank you very much Mr. Robert Ferguson for giving us such a informative talk today. I really appreciate the photos that you took, they are amazing. I used to think that herps like lizards are disgusting and horrible. But, I changed my mind today, I feel like they are cute and beautiful from your photos. The massage you brought to us is reflective as well, we should respect the wild creatures when we are taking photos of them. I strongly agree that we should keep a certain distance with them so that they won't be scared by us.
I’m a final year student from Geography and Resource Management. In these years, I learned quite a lot of urban planning and environmental management. In our secondary school, teachers taught us that sustainable development means balancing environmental, social and economic development. However, professor in university taught us that environment is the most important element in planning. It is impossible for us to do a real balance. We need to do a trade-off, but this must not be the environment. Unfortunately, the government considers economic development than other elements including environmental element. For example, developing Lantau Tomorrow and country park fringe. Those developments destroy the environment a lot by turning the nature to concrete. I think we should figure out other solutions such as developing brown fields rather than developing the natural environment.
Feedback from Neil:
The talk by Mr. Robert left me some great impression and let me reflect that true wildlife photography is not simply taking wonderful pictures of the organisms but most essentially taking careful considerations that we will just be a "hidden" observer of their lives, and absolutely not interfering much or even harming them, i.e. capturing and transferring them to a photography studio. Thorough preparations and extensive research about the timing and location are crucial, and therefore patience is definitely the key to become a truly successful wildlife photographer like you. Another point to outline is that getting involved outside the technical aspects of photography is something that leaves huge admiration as well as something to be encouraged to other wildlife photographers too. It is somewhat not surprising, yet not many people have been giving effort or awareness of the issue. I agree that ecotourism shall be encouraged and promoted (as for education to conserve nature and realize nature's beauty), but not too far to an extent that it could backfire and destroy nature itself (e.g. too many tourists increased the chance of uncontrollable litterings). Of course, detailed plans to counter nature destructive actions shall be carefully devised to balance promoting and conservating. TL;DR An inspirative talk!
Feedback from Yuan Hung LO
I first want to thank Mr. Ferguson for giving such an informative talk and sharing such impressive photos. Through this talk, I think all of us have learned more about the biodiversity in Hong Kong.
In the talk, there’re two points that caught my eye. The first one is the mismanaged LNEC and the advice that the centre or other parks should be run by professionals. Being one of the most commonly visited places that can educate the public about the nature, LNEC apparently lacks proper management, which is a big problem not only about biodiversity of the original places but also the education purpose behind it. Hence, we should really care about the condition of this kind of public places and try to affect the government or the management team through different NGOs.
The second point is the advice of slowing down and observing the surroundings. Knowing that we have so many species and beautiful animals around the city, I’m quite regret that I didn’t really slow down and take time to appreciate the beauty of the nature a lot of time before. After seeing so many stunning photos, I think I should really try to observe the nature, feel the prosperity of it, and learn to respect the nature through the process.
Overall, thanks again for the amazing photos and the actions for the nature. I really hope that everyone could love and respect the nature like you one day in the future.
Kevin Chen and Andy Lo Yuan Hung are exChange students from Taiwan.
Thank you for sharing your awesome experience. My name is Sookhyun Kwon, Computer Science student at CUHK from Korea. I was a student who asked a question about issued in Korea. Well first, I was very surprised that the content of your talk was in fact interesting as I expected (to be honest) a talk would be more about typical "environment protecting" related topic. Like I mentioned in my question, I am an animal lover and actually running a startup business in Hong Kong related to pet animals. So I was highly attracted by your photographs that you have taken of wild lives in Hong Kong. I agree that the natural environment in our society is rapidly changing. Even back in our country, lots of green areas (we call it "green belt") are now released to be developed which were locked by the government from being developed. So when I visit a place once after like few years, totally different scene is there. I felt alot seeing this phenomena.
You made me realize that the reason that the government's effort does not necessarily shows vivid outcome is because that the policies in depth are not considered how environment changes. These people just easily come up with these policies to get people's supports and for their politicial power. Funny that this fact overlaps your idea of saying "business people are bad when it comes to environmental issues". Although, I won't be able to establish city scale policies; whenever I have a chance, I will try to practice my best answer that really thinks about the nature learning from your answer. I hope I can really make changes in what I am interested in.
The talk presented by Mr Robert Ferguson was marvelous and really broaden my horizon. I have been Hong Kong for 7 years and have been High Island Reservoir, tai mo shan park and etc. However I have not yet been LNEC, such a shame. I’ve decided to go there as soon as the covid-19 goes down.
Although Mr Robert Ferguson had not answered my questions in the lesson, I still want to ask and elaborate here. Do u expect more and more citizens to come join the bioblitz? Because of the promotion and effort from kind, aspiring people like you, there will be more and more citizens come to visit. The positive side of it are that people can know the importance of biodiversity and appreciate the nature. However, have you considered if there are more people visit the LNEC park, visitors will damage the park's environment like previously news had presented that masks aside mountain road and How will you approach that?
Here is one thought about this. Cooperate with the government and the related authorities. Legitimate bills and set a little bit more serious punishments can avoid most of citizens to damage environment, both intentionally and unintentionally. In addition, people can know more information about environment because of the new legislation. Most of people, nowadays, know not to damage the nature but don’t know exactly What and How.
I look forward and really appreciate any responses from you. You did give me a very impress talk and make me appreciate the nature and biodiversity more .
I really appreciate what Mr. Robert Ferguson did especially he is not a local Hong Konger. We as a local do not even have the sense to what our hometown environment is going. Most of us only know to work, and to play. We seldom spend time to the nature. I feel quite shame that I know this kind of information from a foreigner. It lets me reflect that we should spend more time exploring what the nature of our hometown is happening, instead of just staying in the concrete jungle.
I agree what Mr. Robert Ferguson said that most of the people incharge in planning and protecting nature have zero knowledge on what they are doing. The are just doing for funds and for something they can present to their supervisor. Sadly it is not only happening in the nature protection, but in the whole city, the whole government. Opinion of people who really have clue on(eg Mr. Robert Ferguson) do not have the power to change. This kind of bureaucracy needs to change. But in today's Hong Kong, we all know it is nearly impossible. So what we can do is just to do our best to protect our hometown. One's impact is small, but million's can make a great change.
Mr Robert Ferguson’s talk gave me mixed feelings. At the very start of the talk, looking at pictures of the beautiful animals and plants, I was in amazed. Exactly like what he said in the PPT, I didn't know that there are that many species in Hong Kong! Looking back at the close-up pictures while writing this still makes me in awe. However, looking at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, I felt very sad and disappointed. What is the point of a lotus pond without lotus? I was wondering how humans can be so cruel to their own home.
Receiving insights from the idea of LNEC is very meaningful, especially BioBlitz and iNaturalist. Like what Mr Robert Ferguson said, education is important. We have to know in order to care, and we need to educate in order for other people to know as well. Not only with the aim of conserving nature, it also promotes natural species to us. It is rousing to see apps like iNaturalist. I still remember the first time using it, I found it really cool. It is very helpful especially for me, who is still a beginner trying to learn about these species. All the pictures he showed made me want to visit the parks and discover the species. Another point Mr Robert Ferguson said that lingers in my mind is to go slowly when hiking so that you can see the different animals and plants. This reminded me of my trip to a park I frequently visited, but the last time I went, I was trying to take pictures of the plants and I realized there were so many things I missed before.
More than that, it is very inspiring to see someone very passionate. Despite not being his home land, Mr Robert Ferguson still cares a lot about nature in Hong Kong. What I grasp here is that it is not the matter of my country and your country, but it is our Earth, our home.
It was a wonderful insight from Mr Robert Ferguson as he shared that nature is able to heal itself if we leave it alone. He raised a few interesting examples, such as the pond in his garden back in England and the abandoned Chernobyl exclusion zone. These places became a hotbed of local wildlife without humans hunting them or ruining their habitats, and I think this serves as a lesson as to how human activities have threaten the biodiversity and disrupted the ecological balance. Although the health of the animals in the Chernobyl exclusion zone might be questionable due to the radiation, it seems like humans are the greater threat to the wildlife as compared to radiation, as wildlife is still able to thrive in that area when humans have been completely removed.
Another takeaway from the sharing session is that it is essential to pick the right person for the job if we want to see a successful strategy execution. In the case of LNEC, we can clearly see that the biodiversity has been destroyed over the past few years due to ineffective management. Therefore, instead of appointing a government official to manage it, I believe that it is more appropriate to appoint a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of environmental science and has the passion for protecting the environment. With the right person leading the park’s management team, clear goals can be identified and the right approach can be taken to restore park’s biodiversity.
On a side note, Mr Ferguson also mentioned that we are not pricing our planet in the right way. Perhaps we should reflect on this and think about the correct way to place a price on our planet. Or should we even place a price on our planet to begin with? Whatever the price may be, if we do not take immediate action to save our planet, we’ll have to pay the price for disrespecting nature.
Thanks, Mr Robert Ferguson, your talk and the photo you talk were really nice and I am quite impressive that is you talk about how to take the picture with wildlife. Since you cannot be so far or so close, it would make the picture fail or scared the animal. Actually, I think it is similar to how to balance human activities and nature. Although people like nature, we can't over intervene. If not, it will destroy the balance between nature and human being. Since biodiversity is important for us if we develop nature not sustainably (such as over development of suburbs and land reclamation), it would break the balance of biodiversity, especially land reclamation. Furthermore, Mr Robert had mentioned that Hong Kong is a place have around 26% animals which China have. This makes me feel that Hong Kong is really a bravo place and we must try our best to protect it to prevent a good place destroyed.
It is very kind of Mr. Robert Ferguson to give us such an informative talk to us today. I was really impressed by his professionalism in exploring the wildlife nature of Hong Kong and effort in preserving the natural environment of our home, despite him not being a native Hong Konger. I was especially amazed by the close-up pictures of several wildlife species that he shared with us. They are really detailed and subtle, and I have to pay my utmost respect to Mr Ferguson for his photographic skills in capturing these species, as well as his passion and enthusiasm in being a wildlife photographer.
I have been to LNEC when I was at a younger age, and I have to admit that I could not remember a thing about it. However, I was still surprised and saddened to see the current situation of LNEC. It is common knowledge that the case of LNEC is simply a tip of the iceberg, for many wildlife habitats all over the world have been either damaged or destroyed in recent decades due to reasons such as ineffective management or overuse of lands. Mankind and the natural ecosystem are interdependent, and us humans ought to start acting to preserve our natural environment before it is too late.
Once again, I would like to show my gratitude to Mr Ferguson for his inspiring talk. It has truly broadened my horizon.
Feedback from Yunhong Park
The importance of the collective action pointed out by Mr. Ferguson has deeply stimulated my mind, as I always believed that one individual's effort cannot make any difference. Even though I always knew that "Little drops of water make the mighty ocean", but somehow, I thought what really makes the mighty ocean is not the litter water drop, it is the lake, the river and the stream. "Evil businesses" and the government surely have resources and abilities to make real differences. As we all persue for our own survival and wealthiness, maybe it is a natural consequence that those powers are focusing more on profit instead of the environment. However, as we learnt from all those videos and lectures during this term, there might be no stable land for us to survive in the future. Therefore, personally what I felt from Mr. Ferguson's presentation was that maybe it is time to take environmental problems seriously, and be a little water drop. My water drop might meet others then one day, we might become a stream, a river then the ocean. Lastly, what Mr. Ferguson is doing, I believe, is recording the nature to remember how it was used to be, and to remind ourselves the mistakes we made and the things we have been neglecting. I think that is one of the major purposes of photography.