Panda internship program launched
A group of Hong Kong college students on Tuesday started a six-week Youth Internship Program at the Wolong National Natural Reserve in Sichuan, learning panda captive breeding and environmental protection through first-hand experience in the national treasure’s habitat.
Together with their counterparts from Guangdong province, some 15 Hong Kong students would take turns to experience five different posts during the internship. These include outdoor researchers for wild animal conservation, eco-tour guides, museum guides, customer experience researchers and advertisement designers.
The program, funded by the special administrative region government and organized by Ocean Park, is also one of the city’s major activities to mark the 20 th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.
Officiating at the program’s launching ceremony in Sichuan, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kamsing said he hoped students would equip themselves with knowledge and apply what they learnt from the program by joining efforts to conserve the natural environment.
The Wolong reserve, in Wenchuan county in Sichuan, houses about 140 giant pandas, according to Zhang Hemin, director-general of the reserve.
Hong Kong and Sichuan’s relations became closer after the magnitude 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000 people in 2008. Hong Kong donated HK$10 billion and took on several reconstruction projects in the province. One project was a giant panda park at the Wolong reserve, which had been destroyed in 2008 as it was 30 kilometers from the epicenter.
Last year, marking the park’s opening, the Sichuan authority announced that the 90 yuan ($13) admission fee for the new park, and another one in Dujiangyan city, will be waived for Hong Kong residents to show gratitude for the city’s generosity.
Besides the Wolong internship, the SAR government also organized the Beijing Palace Museum Conservation Internship Program, letting Hong Kong students learn about cultural heritage conservation at the country’s premium history museum. The program also lasts for six weeks and began on Sunday.
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