Panda in­tern­ship pro­gram launched

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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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