Hong Kong's climate and physical environment provide a wide range of habitats
and support a rich and varied fauna. These include about 465 species of birds, 56
species of mammals, over 100 species of amphibians and reptiles, 230 species of
butterflies and 110 species of dragonflies.
The Mai Po Marshes form one of the most important wildlife conservation sites
in Hong Kong. Together with the Inner Deep Bay area, the Mai Po Marshes area has
been listed as a 'Wetland of International Importance' under the Ramsar Convention.
About 1 500 hectares of mudflats, fish ponds, marshes, reedbeds and dwarf
mangroves provide a rich habitat for migratory and resident birds, particularly ducks
and waders. Some 300 species of birds have been observed in this area, many of
which are considered globally threatened and endangered, such as the black-faced
spoonbill, oriental stork, Nordmann's greenshank and Saunders's gull. The AFCD
implements a wetland conservation and management plan to conserve the ecological
value of the area.
The traditional fung shui woods near old villages and temples and the secondary
forests provide important habitats for many woodland birds. Sightings in wooded
areas include warblers, flycatchers, robins, bulbuls and tits.
Areas around the Kowloon reservoirs are inhabited by monkeys descended from
individuals which were released or which escaped from captivity. There are breeding
groups of rhesus macaques and a few long-tailed macaques, and their hybrids.
Feeding of monkeys has been prohibited since July 1999 to prevent unnatural growth
of the population. Other mammals like red muntjacs, leopard cats, East Asian
porcupines, Chinese ferret badgers, masked palm civets, small Indian civets, Eurasian
wild pigs are quite common in the countryside. Bats like Himalayan leaf-nosed bats,
pomona leaf-nosed bats and Chinese horseshoe bats are found in caves and water
tunnels. Sightings of less common species such as Eurasian otters, small Asian
mongooses and Chinese pangolins are occasionally reported.
Hong Kong has over 100 species of amphibians and reptiles. There are 24
species of amphibians and three of them — the Hong Kong cascade frog, the Hong
Kong newt and the endemic Romer's tree frog — are protected by the Wild Animals
Protection Ordinance. Most of the 52 species of snakes are harmless, and reports of
people being bitten by highly venomous snakes are very rare. Among the 10 native
species of chelonians, the green turtle is of particular interest as it is the only known
species of sea turtle breeding locally.