Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Memorial Gate for British Chinese Soldiers
|Location||Mid-levels, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong|
|Number of animals||700+|
The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (Chinese: 香港動植物公園) is one of the oldest zoological and botanical centres in the world. It occupies an area of 5.6 hectares at Mid-levels, on the northern slope of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. Founded in 1871, its first stage had been opened to the public in 1864.
Similar to Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens provides a natural environment and atmosphere in Central District. It is bigger than Hong Kong Park and contains more plants, birds and facilities.
The park was previously named Bing Tau Fa Yuen (「兵頭花園」). "Bing Tau" literally means "the head of the soldiers" or the "Commander-in-Chief". Some said it was named such way by the Chinese because it was once the private garden of the governor. Other said Bing Tau was just the phonetic transliteration of the first two syllables of the word botanical. In the old days, many lovers liked to go there on a date.
At the southern entrance to the gardens, at Upper Albert Road, is a memorial arch dedicated to the Chinese who died assisting the Allies during the two World Wars. The inscription on the lintel reads: "In Memory of the Chinese who died loyal to the Allied cause in the Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945". The granite arch in the shape of a paifang was erected in 1928. Reference to the Second World War was added later.
There are more than 1,000 species of plants in the gardens, mostly indigenous to tropical and sub-tropical regions. It includes some rare species like the Dawn Redwood and the local Ailanthus. Besides these, some species which can produce flowers throughout the year can also be found there, like the Hong Kong Orchid Tree.
Different Species are grown in the Thematic gardens in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
This garden grows about 20 species from 7 genera of Bamboo family.
More than 30 species are grown in this garden. Crapnell's Camellia (Camellia crapnelliana), Grantham's Camellia (Camellia granthamiana) and Hong Kong Camellia (Camellia hongkongensis) are native to Hong Kong.
This garden grows 5 species of Magnolia:
- Chinese Magnolia (Magnolia coco)
- Yulan (Magnolia denudata)
- Purple Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora)
- Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana)
- Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).
This garden grows over 30 species under 22 genera of the Palm family.
This garden grows over 10 Azalea species including Red Azalea (Rhododendron simsii), Lovely Azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum), Purple Azalea (Rhododendron pulchrum var. phoeniceum) and White Azalea (Rhododendron mucronatum), those are native to Hong Kong. There are also rare species such as Yellow Azalea (Rhododendron x molle) and Westland's Rhododendron (Rhododendron moulmainense).
Various species of herb are grown in the garden.
Apart from the plants, there are over 600 birds, 70 mammals and 40 reptiles, including many different species.
Mammals & Reptiles
The size of the Garden precludes the keeping of very large Mammal species such giraffes. Nevertheless the collection of primates is varied, including such diverse creatures such as Golden Lion Tamarin, orangutan, Ring-tailed Lemur and Black-and-white ruffed lemur. The reptiles are primarily snakes and turtles such as the Malaysian Giant Turtle, Chinese Alligator, and Burmese Python.
Birds include the Red-crowned Crane, Flamingo and Peacock Pheasant.The small brick buildings that house some of the smaller birds were once staff quarters for Chinese workers at the park. These were recently renovated, resulting in the destruction of a row of disused Victorian gas lamp posts, probably the last remaining such row in Hong Kong, and possibly in East Asia.
All parts of the Garden are free to the public. The main entrance is located at Upper Albert Road.
- List of urban public parks and gardens of Hong Kong
- King George V Memorial Park, Hong Kong
- Central and Western Heritage Trail
- HKZBG website: Background
- Lau, Ka-fai, Joseph, "Planning of interpretation strategy for Chinese style : 'Pai-type portal structure' before 1941 on Hong Kong Island", Dissertation, University of Hong Kong, September 2005
- The Film Services Office: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
- HKZBG website: Plants