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[Hong Kong] 強烈譴責康文署罔顧鷺鳥生命

This topic has been un-sticky by HKBWS Chuan at 18/10/2017 12:39.

強烈譴責康文署罔顧鷺鳥生命

強烈譴責康文署罔顧鷺鳥生命

新聞稿

香港觀鳥會

201766


本會今日中午收到市民及鳥友舉報,在大埔墟的一個全港第二大的鷺鳥林,據說由於有市民投訴,因此有康樂及文化事務署的樹木組在修整樹冠,但由於現時是鷺鳥的繁殖季節,很多鷺鳥已在哺蛋及育雛,鳥友發現地上有多隻鷺鳥的雛鳥在地上奄奄一息,亦有已碎的蛋,有鷺鳥巢散落地上,樹冠亦修得疏疏落落,本會亦即時聯絡漁農自然護環署,下午漁護署及愛護動物協會亦到場協助拯救幼鳥。

據說當時約十隻雛鳥獲救,現時全部送往嘉道理農場醫治,但據說情況嚴重,現場已最少有三隻雛鳥屍體,可能仍有部份被樹葉覆蓋未有發現,而其他正哺育雛鳥的鷺鳥會否受到影響仍然是未知之數。

本會強烈譴責康文署罔顧鷺鳥生命,以及對基本的野生動物保護法例的漠視,情況難以接受,本會感度極度遺憾。有關人員即使不知道現時是鷺鳥的繁殖季節,當現場發現有鷺鳥巢及幼鳥也應立即停止,本會希望康文署徹查這個事件,並盡快向市民交待,並確保類似事件絶不可以再發生。

大埔墟的鷺鳥林於2016屬年全港第二大的鷺鳥林,分別有小白鷺、夜鷺、大白鷺及牛背鷺在營巢,以小白鷺及夜鷺數量最多。



(以上圖片由金仔提供)

(以上圖片由大埔街坊提供)

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香港政府知法犯法!不可寬恕!

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This is appalling and demands as many individuals as possible respond direct to LCSD with copy to AFCD.
I understand it is also illegal under current legislation.

Can you please provide a translation of the above together with email addresses for the head of LCSD and AFCD.

Also involving particular newspapers like Apple Daily would be very effective, particularly with these photos.

Geoff

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刑事檢控?

Cap.170 Section 5 肯定觸犯了,而唯一的抗辯,可能是當時“看不見” “無人告知”幼鳥的存在,直到掉在地上才知道... ...縱使理据不強,無知不會是理由。LCSD無事前告知行事人員,行政有失。但是否刑事檢控Sections 17-18,要看DoJ了。

Today's South China Morning Post report:
Hatchlings killed during tree pruning session at prime Hong Kong bird habitat
Officials from Leisure and Cultural Services Department apologise for incident, but Kadoorie Farm says criminal and negligent behaviour was clearly involved... ...

[ Last edited by K_Chan at 8/06/2017 07:25 ]
遠觀而不攝玩。

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There is also a petition started by HKWildlife.net in relation to this activity: http://hkwildlifeegretry.weebly.com/
I'm sure it would help to get as many signatures on this as possible, to show government how serious this issue is.

I think it's a good idea to maintain some pressure about this incident. I appreciate that LCSD have apologised, but I think that more is needed - I think there should be a full explanation about why this was allowed to happen, and what steps are being taken to prevent something similar happening again.

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Reportedly FEHD (食環署) referred a complaint on egret droppings.

In fact, LCSD(康文署) should have sufficient liaison prior with Tree Mgt Office(發展局樹木辦 Development Bureau) and AFCD(漁護署). But they did not, obviously, and now said they would in future enhance wildlife conservation training to the working staffers pruning tree branches...

But, they (deliberately?) missed to address that this mistake was in fact a management issue. Not the workers'.

As long as Cap.170 has been offended, it seems sensible, as Kadoorie Farm suggested, that there should be charge to be brought to the offenders. AFCD is empowered to prosecute, and if necessary, can seek legal opinion from DoJ(律政司). But...

[ Last edited by K_Chan at 8/06/2017 07:47 ]
遠觀而不攝玩。

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The latest Press Release from LCSD on this issue is on their website here (in English, I guess there is a Chinese version somewhere)

http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/news/press_details.php?id=11041

Here LCSD make the claim that the initial report was that "some tree branches were overgrowing at the junction of Kwong Fuk Road and Wan Tau Kok Lane in Tai Po and requested for a trimming by the Government. The LCSD staff therefore followed up in accordance with standing instructions. During a site inspection on June 2, it was found that some branches of the trees were too long and too dense, with a few dieback twigs. Since the typhoon season is imminent, the overgrown branches may pose danger to the passers-by. In order to ensure public safety, tree pruning work was therefore considered necessary."

My questions to anyone who knows this area are
1. Does this sound true, were the branches an obvious danger? Or was the complaint really about bird droppings?
2. Even if the branches were an obvious danger, should it also have been obvious to the LCSD inspectors on June 2 that trimming these branches would be a danger to the nesting egrets?

The rest of the statement seems to be an admission of failure and inappropriate behaviour by the tree team staff

"Following the issue of email by TMO to all tree management departments on matters to be observed in tree pruning which include protection of wild animals, the LCSD swiftly informed all tree team staff and reminded them to pay more attention."
"The LCSD will further strengthen its tree care training for these staff covering wild animal protection with a view to enhancing their awareness and technique."

However, if there was a site inspection on 2 June by LCSD inspectors and the dangers to egret nesting was obvious, then the mistake was by LCSD inspectors not just the tree team staff.

Geoff

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 10/06/2017 07:42 ]

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I am not an arborist so cannot comment on the condition of the trees in relation to a safety risk.

The nesting birds should have been very obvious during the inspection on 2nd June. From the photos I have seen of chicks affected, some of these are more than four days old, so would have been there at the time of the inspection. Regardless, this is a large an active egretry and it is impossible to walk past at the moment without seeing adult birds and chicks in the nest. Even if they are not visible on the branches under discussion, it should be apparent to a site inspector that there would be disturbance from the crane to nearby nests.

The "Guidelines for Tree Risk Assessment and Management Arrangement" referred to in LCSD's statement (https://www.greening.gov.hk/file ... RAM_Arrangement.pdf) includes the following:
2.6.1 Trees for Sensitivity Analysis
Tree management departments are to undertake Sensitivity Analysis when considering the proposed removal of the following types of trees under non-emergency circumstances:
 OVTs;
 Stonewall trees; and
 Trees of particular interest, such as rare species or trees of cultural significance.

Examples of trees of particular interest are listed as below for reference:
 Rare tree species listed in ‘Rare and Precious Plants of Hong Kong’ (http://herbarium.gov.hk/PublicationsPreface.aspx?BookNameId=1) published by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
 Endangered plant species protected under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap 586).
 Well-known Fung Shui trees.
 Landmark trees with evidential records to support the historical significance of the trees.
 Trees which may arouse widespread public concerns.
 Trees which may be subject to strong local objections on removal.


It does not seem to explicitly include anything about protecting animals using the tree, but I would argue that the site inspectors should have been aware that pruning the tree may 'arouse widespread public concerns' or 'may be subject to strong local objections on removal'. Also, given that the egretry is well documented, they could be considered 'Landmark trees'. Thus, I think that it would have been appropriate in this case to assess the situation further before proceeding with removal.

I would suggest that one action the HKBWS could take is to ask for a strengthening of these guidelines to take into account the impacts to wildlife. It seems appropriate that any tree management should take into account the impacts not only to nesting birds but also to other affected wildlife (e.g. bats, especially fruit bats in palm trees) and should avoid wildlife impacts as far as possible.

[ Last edited by ajohn at 8/06/2017 14:38 ]

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A very cursory search of the internet for "arboriculture best practices wildlife" throws up many links which outline procedures for assessing trees and impacts on wildlife.  For example from the UK:
https://www.trees.org.uk/Help-Advice/Public/Help-for-arborists
https://www.staffsmoorlands.gov. ... e_1_-_Tree_Work.pdf
http://www.hastings.gov.uk/conte ... Policy_complete.pdf

The last link has some very pertinent statements:  "Gristwood and Toms recognises that just as trees may be protected through Planning legislation i.e. Tree Preservation Orders, the wildlife that may utilise the trees for reasons such as roosting, breeding or sheltering may also be afforded statutory protection; the company is fully aware of its legal obligations and appreciates the potential detrimental impact that its operations could have on wildlife."

The press release states: "All LCSD's tree team staff have received professional tree care training and possess relevant knowledge and experience. Some of them hold arboriculture qualifications such as certified arborists and tree risk assessors."

If this is the case they should be well aware of wildlife- if anyone is going to encounter a bird's nest, it is going to be someone up a tree!  If they can so blatantly ignore a nesting colony we can only wonder at what damage has occurred previously.

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 8/06/2017 17:28 ]

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