Project Title : Pilot Project to Increase Awareness of the Ecological Importance of the Breeding Colonies of Terns in Hong Kong

Applicant : The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Limited

Total Approved Grant : $121,550.60

Duration : May 2003 - Oct 2003

Project Status/Remarks : completed

Scope :

To identify and investigate potential hazards to the terns and monitoring of breeding sites of terns against human disturbance. Guidebooks for tour operators will be produced with a view to building up capacity / providing the techniques for potential tern watching leaders, surveyors and local environmental groups.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:

The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Limited (HKBWS) conducted the project "Pilot Project to Increase Awareness of the Ecological Importance of the Breeding Colonies of Terns in Hong Kong" from May to November 2003. It was a first ever project combining environmental research, ecotourism and education using Terns as a medium to generate awareness of seabird and marine conservation.

Highlights of the project included 10 regular surveys at the eastern Hong Kong waters, 8 large-scale surveys at the NE, SE and southern water. These have collected valuable information on tern breeding sites in Hong Kong. HKBWS has also organized 7 demonstration tours to introduce to local environmental groups and tour operators the skills and guidelines for tern watching, and to highlight the importance of breeding sites as well as marine conservation.

The outcomes of the project include: Project Report comprising two parts: (I) Monitoring and Surveys for Tern Colonies in Hong Kong and (II) Demonstration Tours: Ecological Education and Ecotourism. 7 demonstrations tours and a Guidebook, which provides information on terns, skills and guideline in Tern watching. Code of Practice for tern watching was developed and included in the Guidebook. The Project was also widely reported in newsletters of hiking groups and local non-government organization. It was also reported in Ming Pao Daily News in August 2003.

Objectives Achieved.

Project Objective Achievement / Measurable
Gather baseline data that will identify key breeding sites meriting conservation action, and will inform priority setting and management planning by providing information to relevant government department, local and international conservationists; - 10 regular surveys organized at the eastern Hong Kong water.
- 8 large-scale surveys organized at the NE, SE and southern HK water to identify potential breeding sites.
- Project Report produced to be sent to relevant government departments, NGOs and groups that are interest to involve in tern conservation.
Working with legitimate tour/boat operators to take group to watch Terns and other marine wildlife properly, without disturbing their breeding process, and so ensuring their continue survival in Hong Kong; - Database has been obtained from AFCD on contact information of boat and tour operators.
- Letters has been sent to recruit tour / boat operators to join demonstration tours to watching broaden their understanding.
Develop standard methodology, practice and code of conduct in Tern watching; - Code of practice has been produced and was adopted in Tern Research Group as a reference for promotion of tern watching. It is incorporated in the Guidebook to encourage future reference.
Educate and build capacity of the local environmental group and tour operator for the protection of Terns, the skills of leading Tern watching tours, bird surveying and monitoring techniques. In the end, we may even involve some of them to participate in long term monitoring of the Terns in Hong Kong. - 7 demonstration tours organized for stakeholders including boat and tour operators, ecology students, nature interpreters, environmental teachers and local NGOs to provide information on terns of Hong Kong
- Guidebook has been produced to provide hand-on experience on habitat, regional importance, guidance and techniques on tern identification and group watching.
- A report form was incorporated in the Guidebook to encourage future participation of tern survey.