The Hong Kong Wetland Park, in support of the global Amphibian Ark campaign, launched the “2008 Year of the Frog” (YOTF) campaign in July 2008 at the Park. From July to October 2008 Hong Kong Wetlands Park held exhibitions and workshops prioritising species protection and increasing public awareness of frog conservation.
There were 70,000+ visitors to exhibition. The exhibition included interactive games introducing frog calls, sightings of frogs and information about their nocturnal habits to city-dwellers, with a chance to touch frogs. Kids could make a pledge with the Frog Prince to state wish to protect frogs.
There was also a Japanese origami workshop titled “Life Cycle of Frogs”.
The highest priority is the protection Hong Kong’s Fromer’s Tree Frog, the Short-Legged Toad and Giant Spiny Frogs.
Globally, the number of amphibians are declining at a rapid rate. It is estimated that 30-50% of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction and more than 120 species have gone extinct in recent years. In 2006, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) set up a program, “the Amphibian Ark”, to promote the long-term survival of amphibians.
The Hong Kong Wetland Park, in support of the global Amphibian Ark campaign, launched the “2008 Year of the Frog” (YOTF) campaign in July 2008 at the Park. The campaign aims to arouse public awareness and understanding of the amphibian extinction problem, to highlight ways in which the public may help to conserve amphibians in their daily lives, to stimulate a sustained and long-term interest in amphibian conservation and related interactions with the environment, and to raise awareness about the protection of biodiversity through the conservation of amphibians.
Through the thematic exhibition for the campaign featuring live exhibits, fascinating interactive games, thought-provoking panels and frog chorus, visitors enjoy a journey of understanding and appreciating frogs. In the “Close Encounter with Amphibians” sessions, visitors may pick up a frog or a newt for close observation under the guidance of the Park’s frog ambassador and share the daily delights of amphibians. The exhibition (from 1st July to 31st October 2008) attracted about 40,000 visitors in its first two months (July and August) of exhibition.
One of the main obstacles that Hong Kong Wetland Park had to overcome in running the exhibition was animal welfare.
Frogs are nocturnal, we had to re-create their natural environment within the exhibition site, maintaining moisture, temperature, UV light supply, feeding and comfort. UV light change is damaging to frogs, and their skin in permeable to water, so our water pollution was a concern.
We had to exercise trial & error, and kept close observation at all times.
We also had to understand the characters of different species. Balance of visitors expectations – nocturnal and camouflaged frogs and daytime visitors.