I have for some time - over the past 2-3 years - watched the progressive decline and outright destruction of the habitat and biodiversity of the LNEC in SaiKung. Please see the low-res file that details this, download at the link below, or contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. This is in direct contradiction to the government's own plan to INCREASE biodiversity - the BSAP.
I have engaged the AFCD and park management through emails and meetings, and whilst there is progress, there is still work to be done. A way for us all to understand more about wildlife, nature and our actions is to observe, record, and ID it, and then measure how it changes over the seasons and as a result of good - or bad - habitat management.
A great way to do this is using the simple - and free - iNaturalist App, and to organise a Bioblitz. So i have organised one, hopefully the first of many. WHAT IS A BIOBLITZ?:
A bioblitz is a species inventory that involves observing, recording and documenting living things in a short period of time. This is a communal citizen-science effort to record as many species (in our case using iNaturalist App and our smartphones/mobile devices), within a designated location (Lions Nature Education Centre/LNEC in SaiKung) within a defined time period (12-15th February 2021).
This first LNEC Bioblitz is a great way to engage the park management along with interested members of the public, to connect to their environment and record the biodiversity of the park. The plan is to build these out on a quarterly basis to reflect the seasonal variations.
This is particularly relevant at the moment where park management has destroyed much valuable habitat, and we have witnessed a serious habitat and subsequent biodiversity loss. It is hoped that through this, and subsequent projects, that we can work together to increase the numbers recorded, and ensure more and better wildlife habitat and more enjoyment of the wonderful creatures that live in this area.
High quality data uploaded to iNaturalist becomes part of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, an open source database used by scientists and policy makers around the world.
WHY SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Well, without reading the full report in the attached file, you should know that we have lost 50-90% of all pond life; with largescale soil and plant removal. This includes 1. A lotus pond, without any lotus plants. These were torn out during a "cleaning" 2 years ago.
Just look at the before photo on the left, and now.....on the right.
2. A dragonfly pond with no dragonflies.
Before on the left, and now, drained, nymphs and naiads wiped out, polluted, plants dead.
Is this really what you want to show your kids? And this is a NATURE EDUCTION CENTRE?
WHY NOW AND HERE?
Scientists, relevant NGOS, concerned members of the public, and the Government of the SAR's (BSAP) report all highlight the KEY THREAT to nature is HABITAT DEGRADATION. When we adopt that “Conservation of biodiversity is important to the sustainable development of the city” what are the key actions we can do to help stop this?
Firstly, the park management of LNEC should be engaged in a positive manner to help them appreciate the tragic consequences of their past decisions, with a view to better habitat and biodiversity management from now, and in the future. Recording successes of objectives against (government) goals to “provide a network of habitats in the middle of the urban area for wildlife in particular birds and butterflies” would be a great programme.
The Bioblitz can generate locally and scientifically valuable biodiversity data. It is important that we are able to objectively record the habitat and biodiversity in the Lion’s Nature Education Centre.
A larger primary goal is to connect people to nature, and by that we mean getting people to feel that the non-human world has personal significance, and is worth protecting. Scaling up the bioblitz in the future is a great way to engage the local community and schools. But we need to start somewhere. Note: City Nature Challenge: 30 April - 3 May 2021.
Supported by: wildcreatureshongkong.org; iNaturalist; Technical Advisor: Shaun Martin/WWF
This Bioblitz is a bit of an experiment, so I would like more people to be aware, and you are welcome to turn up; but there may not be a lot of wildlife! I will be at the park for 3 days at on the 12th, 13th and 14th, and you are welcome to meet me in front of the Deaf Cafe at 10 and 11am morning or 1 and 2 pm to get advice on using the app or to talk photography.