WWF Hong Kong has found that in recent months, the freshwater wetlands in Wong Chuk Yeung, Sai Kung, equal to the size of a soccer field, have been destroyed. The adjacent Ma On Shan Country Park also suffered.
The area has been hailed as the largest freshwater wetland in Sai Kung. WWF, an environmental group, found that a large area of secondary forest has been cut down by bulldozers recently. The area covered by the scope of chopped trees is also suspected to include government land. Wong Chuk Yeung is rich in ecology. There are small spiny frogs, which are included in the IUCN Red List and the only species of red deer in Hong Kong. Lands Department is following up and investigating the situation.
Mr Chan Chung Ming, Conservation Officer (Local Biodiversity), estimated that about 0.7 hectares of secondary forest in the country park was damaged by deforestation, and all the land was deforested.
Wong Chuk Yeung’s freshwater wetlands were previously destroyed in 2012 and 2015 but country park was not affected at the time. The Foundation visited Wong Chuk Yeung this week and found that freshwater wetlands were damaged again. Even the secondary forests adjacent to the Ma On Shan Country Park were felled, covering a total area of 0.9 hectares. The foundation criticised the sabotage as a lawlessness. It is estimated that 15% of the damaged area is government land and there are many tracks of the bulldozer used.
Wong Chuk Yeung has high ecological value, according to the past Green Power survey. This found that the area had a variety of rare species, such as the spotty woodpecker, and Hong Kong’s only deer species, the muntjac. A total of 47 species of birds, 78 species of butterflies, 28 species of dragonflies and 10 species of amphibian reptiles were recorded in the area. The endangered Lesser Spiny Frog (小棘蛙) inhabits Wong Chuk Yeung River.
WWF conducted a search to show that the damaged lots were held by Diamonds Sun Limited, Kwong Mei J&W Development Limited and Tonway Investment Limited. They suspect that the damaged sites are related to the local development of organic farming projects with future development projects in the pipeline.