Wildlife in Hong Kong - 9 Rare Species & 10 Best Places to Find Them
Encircled with bays and beaches, islands and peninsulas, harbours and seas, mountains and valleys, wetlands and gardens, amusement parks and marine parks, Hong Kong is unparalleled. Beneath the cover of the large forest areas, mountains and hills, a vast section of wildlife in Hong Kong thrive in this region. With many rare species surviving in Hong Kong, the region poses to be an excellent place for wildlife lovers!
Rare Species Found in Hong Kong
How intertwined nature is with wildlife can be clearly experienced in the land of Hong Kong. There can be found rare species of flora and fauna in the islands and mountains of the region. Many of the animals are only found in Hong Kong. Wildlife enthusiasts, who are interested in understanding wildlife in and out, - should undoubtedly visit the place.
1. Pink Dolphins
The glittery Pink Dolphins found in Lantau island and Pearl River Estuary are a treat to the eyes. Born like any other dolphins covered in black colour, this variety of Chinese Dolphins possess blood vessels close to the skin. It helps them to keep themselves calm and cool in the warm weathers, leading to the colour change, from black to pink in their adulthood.
2. Black-faced Spoonbill bird
The elegant looking Black-faced Spoonbill birds found wandering in the Hong Kong Wetland Park are a unique variety of spoonbill found in Eastern Asia. With a significant appearance, a more massive black bill and wispy crest, Black-faced Spoonbills are the only endangered among the spoonbill species.
Macaques of Hong Kong are just everywhere, especially in the branches and trees of Kam Shan Country Park in Hong Kong. Also known as Monkey Hill, here, the long-tailed Macaques and the rhesus macaques are most prominent, swinging from this way to that.
4. Masked Palm Civet
The little Masked Palm Civet, also nicknamed as gem faced civet is a rare species found in Hong Kong’s rainforests, vividly. With three mammae, when these black and white-faced palm civets walk, you can see the long furry tail swirling from behind. Slightly greyish, this nocturnal omnivore is a bit arboreal, too.
5. Green Turtles
Sham Wan of Lamma Islands in Hong Kong can be termed as one of the restricted nesting places of green turtles in Hong Kong. With a severe decrease in population numbers of Green Turtles, the name derived due to the storage of green fat in the body; Hong Kong clears the shores before each nesting period.
6. Bent Winged Firefly
One of the newest additions in the wildlife of Mai Po Reserve in Hong Kong is this magnificent Bent Winged Firefly. Quite different from other species of Pteroptyx, this species, unlike others do not breed in mangroves region, instead are found in Deep Bay, providing an exceptional night beauty.
7. Red Lacewing Butterfly and White Dragontail butterfly
Hong Kong is home to approximately 260 species of butterflies, most impressive among them includes the Red Lacewing Butterfly and the White Dragontail Butterfly, found in Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve, Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun Country Park and many other places. While Red Lacewing is locally uncommon with patches of red in its wings, the White Dragontail Butterfly has transparent wings with larger tailed hind wings.
8. Chinese Bahaba
This gigantic fish, also called Yellow Croaker, weighs around a 100 KGS and is 2 Metres in length. Mostly fed on crabs and shrimps from the ocean, Chinese Bahaba is a critically endangered species, which can be found swimming down the waters of Pearl River Estuary.
9. Cascade frog
The shimmery bodied Hong Kong Cascade Or Torrent frog can found amply in hong Kong Islands and New Territories region. It is an exact species of coastal china with bulging eyes and velvety nuptial pads.
Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Hong Kong
Visiting Hong Kong and not exploring the wildlife of this region near the South China Sea would be a mistake. Housing parks, wetlands, islands and mountains, wildlife in Hong Kong is a common sight. Some of the best places to witness the wildlife of the region are:
1. Kam Shan Country Park
Famous for the mischievous macaques, Kam Shan Country Park offers a glimpse of over 1800 monkeys of the region. Established in 1977, the Park is a great place for hikes as well. Also known as Monkey Hill, Rhesus monkeys can likewise be spotted here apart from the other wildlife of Hong Kong. Lined in greenery, this park is home to many squirrels and birds such as the black-eared kites and common tailorbirds.
Address - Golden Hill Road, Sha Tin Timings - 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM (Open on all days) Cost - HKD 30 per person (approximately)
2. Mai Po Nature Reserve
Locally known as the Mai Po marshes, Mai Po Nature Reserve is situated in San Tin. Sheltering over 90,000 birds and part of the Deep Bay, Mai Po Nature Reserve experiences a huge influx of migratory birds during the winters. The serenity evoked in the ambience along with the well-conserved biodiversity lists the Mai Po Nature Reserve under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance of Hong Kong. Approximately 24 large shrimp ponds in the reserve serve as a source of food to the birds here. There are half-day bird watching tour packages conducted by the experienced guides from the WWF, as well.
Address - Mai Po, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong kong
3. Pearl River Estuary
One of the best places to witness the glory of Hong Kong's famous Pink Dolphins is the Pearl River Estuary. The most number of pink dolphins can be seen at Lantau Islands and Peng Chau. There are regular boat rides for dolphin watching as well. With an estimate of around 1000 dolphins, this dolphin habitat is now at stake due to huge tourist footfall which can disrupt their natural course of life.
Address - Pearl River Estuary, Guangdong
4. Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden is the best option to spend a sunny day amidst nature and spot wildlife in Hong Kong. Established in 1956, this garden was initiated to help farmers of the New Territories. The green vegetation is carried out in the ancient Hong Kong farming style along with greenhouse for cultivating flowers. A walk down the sloping path of the farm leads to the wildlife of this region where visitors can see deers, flamingos, porcupines, barking deer, pangolins and a few migratory birds, too.
Address - Lam Kam Road, Tai PO, New Territories, Hong Kong Timings - 09:30AM to 04:30 PM Cost (per person) - Adults - HKD 30 per person Children (5 to 11 years) -HKD 15
5. Shing Mun Country Park
Located near the urbanised region of Tsuen Wan in New Territories, Shing Mun Country Park is an excellent place for hiking apart from spotting wildlife in Hong Kong. Visitors can watch gorgeous butterflies like blue-spotted crows, glassy tigers, common tigers and wild monkeys. The reservoir surrounded by Paperbark trees is a lovely spot of this park and a great photo-op as well.
Address - 6 Miu Kong Street, Lo Wai, Hong Kong Timings - 09:30AM to 04:30 PM Cost (per person) Adult - HKD 30 Children (5 to 11 years) - HKD 15
6. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Located in an easily commutable area in Central Hong Kong, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest surviving botanical gardens of the region. Also, nicknamed as Binge Tau Fa Yun, this garden was built in the 1860s. The garden now shelters animals like emperor tamarin, racoon, elongated tortoise, Bali mynah, American flamingo, Hawaiian goose. Visitors could also indulge in activities like cycling and hikes besides exploring wildlife in Hong Kong here. They have wildlife tours in the Old Garden and New Garden as well.
Address - Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong Timings - Greenhouse and Exhibition Centre - 09:00AM to 04:30 PM Terrace Gardens - 05:00 AM to 10:00 PM Wednesday to Monday - 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM Cost - Free
7. Hong Kong Wetland Park
Covering 61 Hectares, the Hong Kong Wetland in the New Territories was established to regain the loss caused by the Tin Shui Wai New Town Development. Acting both as an educational and recreational spot, this world-class eco-tourism spot with its themed exhibition galleries, facilities of Succession walk, Mangrove Boardwalk, Wildside walk and Stream walk in the wetland make it a great place to stop by. The charms of plenty of migratory birds like Black Faced Spoonbill, Fiddler Crab, Mudskipper, Chinese Grosbeak, Scaly Breasted Munia, White-breasted Waterhen, Waterfowl and many more. There is also an indoor play area and a souvenir store in the visitor centre.
Address - Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong Timings - Wednesday to Monday - 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM Cost - HKD 30
8. Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve
The famous Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve is just two kilometres away from the Tai Po valley. This 42-hectare land houses around 200 to 235 butterfly species and was regarded as a Special Site of Scientific Research in 1980. The reserve has dragonflies, spiders and grasshoppers as well. The Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve has almost 70 uncommon butterfly species and 30 rare butterfly species.
Address - 150 Fung Yuen Road, Ting Kok Road, Tai Po, Hong Kong Timings - Open on all days - 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM Cost - HKD 20 per person
In most of the places, photography is allowed. However, visitors must maintain proper conduct and not disturb the animals while clicking photographs. The camera flash should be avoided.
Keep nature clean and not litter.
Avoid using strong perfume while exploring wildlife in Hong Kong. It might create an unpleasant atmosphere for the animals.
Do not feed the zoo animals.
If availing a safari, do not get off from the vehicle without the prior permission of the driver or the instructor.
Avoid wearing bright coloured clothes; it acts as distractions to the eyes of the animals around. Try to wear subtle coloured clothing. The more camouflaged you are, the better you can explore the uninterrupted wildlife around.
Keep phones on silent. Shrill ringtones can startle the animals.
Smoking is allowed only in restricted zones. Do not smoke otherwise as it can lead to a wildfire.
While Hong Kong carries out an image of extravagance through its skyscrapers and shopping culture, to name a few, the region also houses rare and unseen wildlife. Share with us your experiences of spotting wildlife in Hong Kong, in the comments below!