The closure of KFBG to the public for much of 2020 due to the pandemic, resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many courses and workshops. Still, we adapted and made the best of the circumstances by developing new online resources, in some cases combining Zoom and in-person formats – and introducing virtual programmes to enable people to connect with nature in alternative ways. The Central Farmers’ Market was similarly affected, but an
ad-hoc Community Supported Agriculture Scheme was set up to help local farmers distribute their products during this difficult period.
Wildlife rescue and conservation work was able to continue as normal, with 37 Golden Coin turtles successfully hatched and the rescue centre marking its 10,000th avian arrival. Ongoing flora surveys documented a staggering 21 plant species new to Hong Kong – including 3 oaks, commonly regarded as keystone species – whilst 20 fauna species were added to the KFBG site checklist. With travel restricted, our work in Mainland China continued through local colleagues and partners, as well as online – and in Hainan, the establishment of the fifth family group of Hainan Gibbons was confirmed, reflecting the value of our work in recovering this critically endangered species.
Our commitment to local nature conservation was further reflected in the Ecological Advisory Programme, whose staff attended numerous meetings with various Government departments and environmental NGOs and made hundreds of submissions on planning applications, Environmental Impact Assessments, draft Development Permission Area Plans and Outline Zoning Plans.
As the climate and biodiversity crises deepen, KFBG’s role takes on ever-growing importance. Yet we have not been unaffected by challenging economic conditions and the years ahead will see a more concerted effort toward diversifying income streams to sustain our programmes. This will go hand-in-hand with increased awareness-raising of the issues that affect us all and an evolving education programme that integrates the various strands of our work, making it more visible and accessible to stakeholders.