- A nature reserve in the unlikeliest of spots in the northeastern New Territories designated a site of special scientific interest in 1983 and a wetland of international importance in 1995. There are over 60,000 water birds have wintered in and around the Mai Po, including endangered species such as Saunders' Gull and a quarter of the world's population of the Black-faced Spoonbill. In addition to the birds, the heart of the reserve is made up of 24 traditionally operated shrimp ponds (locally called gei wai), which are now the only such ponds in Hong Kong, and possibly in southern China.
When the gei wai is drained, the areas of shallow water or exposed mud on the pond floor would provide feeding and roosting habitats hundreds of for fish-eating birds, particularly herons, egrets and the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill. Since this traditional form of gei wai management can contribute to the ecological value of the site, WWF Hong Kong is continuing with the winter drain down of the gei wai on a rotation basis. Access to the Reserve is limited so make a reservation well in advance online.
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