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The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced that, in light of the latest developments of COVID-19, there is a need to put in place measures to reduce social contact, the country park barbecue sites and campsites are temporarily closed starting from 15 July. Barbecue sites and campsites are closed There are currently 163 barbecue sites and 41 campsites under the management of the AFCD, and all of them are closed starting from 15 July. During the closure of the above facilities, no one should carry out barbecuing or camping activities in country parks. AFCD staff will step up patrols of the sites concerned.Country Park Visitor / Education Centres are closedThe following AFCD public facilities are temporarily closed from July 15 and school and public programmes will also be cancelled until further notice: 1. Hong Kong Wetland Park;2. Eight Country Park Visitor/Education Centres, namely Woodside Biodiversity Education Centre, Ngong Ping Nature Centre, Lions Nature Education Centre (LNEC) (except for the outdoor exhibition area), Shing Mun Country Park Visitor Centre, Aberdeen Tree Centre, Clear Water Bay Country Park Visitor Centre, Tai Mo Shan Country Park Visitor Centre and Sai Kung Country Park Visitor Centre (except for the reception counter for permit applications);3. Seven Hong Kong Geopark Visitor Centres, namely Hong Kong Geopark Visitor Centre at LNEC, Sai Kung Volcano Discovery Centre, Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre, Tai Po Geoheritage Centre, Ap Chau Story Room, Kau Sai Village Story Room and Kat O Story Room; and4. Endangered Species Resource Centre at Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices. The AFCD will continue to closely monitor the situation and review the above arrangement as appropriate. For the latest updates on the facilities in the country parks, members of the public can also visit the "Enjoy Hiking" website. The AFCD would like to remind visitors to country parks to ensure personal and environmental hygiene and maintain social distancing. Visitors should properly handle used masks and waste and take their litter home.
Some people enjoy feeding monkeys, some worry that the monkeys are starving in the wild and they want to help them by feeding. However, they are not aware of its negative consequences to both monkeys and people, such as: - Becoming dependent on humans for food and lost their foraging instincts;- Becoming overpopulated, causing the ecosystem unbalanced;- Losing natural fear to humans, even snatching plastic bags or food held by people; and- Causing nuisance to the residents in the nearby areas. Statutory ProtectionMonkeys are protected wild animals in Hong Kong. Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170), except in accordance with a special permit, no person shall hunt, willfully disturb, sell or in his possession of any protected wild animals taken from Hong Kong. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for one year. Kam Shan, Lion Rock and Shing Mun Country Parks, part of Tai Mo Shan Country Park, Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, a section of Tai Po Road parallel to Caldecott Road and Piper's Hill section of Tai Po Road are specified places under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) at which the feeding of any wild animals are prohibited. The implementation of feeding ban is intended to reduce the monkeys' reliance on human feeding, and to make the monkeys revert to foraging in the countryside on their own. Anyone contravening the feeding restriction is liable to a maximum fine of HK$10,000 upon conviction. The AFCD arranges regular patrol at the feeding ban area, and will take immediate prosecution actions against anyone who has fed monkeys or other wild animals. Monkey Contraceptive ProgrammeSince 2007, AFCD has regularly arranged monkey contraceptive operations for monkeys in Kam Shan, Lion Rock and Shing Mun Country Parks. AFCD also monitors the changes in monkey populations so as to control their number in the long run. According to the population monitoring, the birth rate of monkeys in Kam Shan, Lion Rock and Shing Mun Country Parks has noticeably decreased from about 78% in 2008 to about 35% in recent years. The total number of monkeys has dropped by more than 23% from 2008 to 2016, and has maintained at about 1,650 from 2014 to 2016. AFCD continues to monitor the changes of monkey populations and perform neutering treatments for more monkeys.
Once you have decided to go camping, the first thing to do is to choose the site and to plan the duration of your stay, the equipment to take, and the amount of food that you will need, well in advance. The following guidelines may help.LocationCheck the location and site of the site and plan your route to it. The camp sites within the Country Parks are on a “first-come-first-served” basis, so during weekends and public holidays when many campers will be competing for limited facilities, you are advised to arrive at the camp sites early. Please remember that under the Country Park and Special Area Regulations, you are not allowed to camp other than in a designated camp site which can be identified by the sign boards erected by the Country and Marine Parks Authority.The rucksackYour rucksack should be spacious, of good shape and very strong. In packing a rucksack, you should remember the principle of last in last in first out, things like raincoat, windbreaker or poncho should be placed on the uppermost part. It is desirable to fill up all the empty spaces with plastic bags, newspaper or clothing.The centre of gravity should preferably be located near the top of the rucksack. All these will make it more comfortable for you to carry.The tentA good tent is one that is strong enough to protect you against the elements. It should have a waterproof ground sheet, mosquito netting and a flysheet.ClothingTake some spare clothing for wet or cold weather and some spare plastic bags to keep clothes dry.EquipmentBlanket/sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils are basic items. Don’t forget to take a mini-sized radio with you, plus a whistle; a map (the countryside series are very useful); a torch and spare batteries (never use a gas lantern inside the tent); a sharp pocket knife; spare guy ropes and a first aid kit. Pitching the campLay out the tent with the rear fully to the direction of the wild. Use the strongest tent pegs for the main guys. Pegs should be pushed into the ground at 45o away from the tent and the guys made as long as possible. If the ground sheet is not sewn-in, it should be positioned entirely inside the tent so that water cannot run off the tent onto the ground sheet.CookingFire is a major hazard to both the tent and the countryside. When the red fire danger signal is in force use dry provisions and do not light any fire. Always cook outside the tent, in the fire places provided.HygieneBoil stream water drinking and make sure that the source from which the water is taken is clean. SecurityCamping in remote sites should be carried out in groups of not less than five persons. It is advisable to inform the nearest police station of your intention to camp and the location of camp site you plan to use.EmergenciesBe prepared for emergencies. You should know your area well and know the nearest police station. Always take a first aid kit with you and make sure that someone in your group knows how to use it and administer first aid.If any accident occurs, do not panic - stay together, keep calm, take stock of your situation and decide what to do. Cool heads and common sense will be your greatest assets.In the case of a serious injury, keep the patient comfortable, give first aid and only move him if it is essential. Send someone to the nearest point (the nearest telephone/ police station/country park management centre) for help. If your party is larger than four, send two people with a written message. It is important that the message is written because your messengers may arrive tired or exhausted and a verbal message will be garbled and unintelligible. The message must be written before the messengers leave and must contain full information such as the location, time, nature of the accident, the number of persons injured and weather conditions. Leave the SiteRemember to remove all pegs. Stones for securing the tent should also be removed.Refill any holes and extinguish all fires. Last but not least, remember to remove all rubbish. When you leave the campsite,apart from the marks of crushed grass where tents have been pitched, there should be no other signs that you have been there.Country CodeGet to know the Country Code, which tells you all you need to know about what you should and should not do in the countryside:Do not destroy by fire or vandalismDo not spoil with litter and dirtDo not pollute water catchment areas, streams or reservoirsDo not destroy vegetation and wildlife (For more details, please click here to read the Camping Guide provided by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department)