With extra than 250 islands, 24 state parks, six marine parks and a maritime reserve, Hong Kong offers a treasure trove of normal wonders to discover and a feast for the senses. But for city diversity researcher and National Geographic Explorer Astrid Alex Andersson, just one of the biggest matters about the town is that wildlife thrives even in the coronary heart of the concrete jungle.

Nat Geo explorer Astrid Anderson hikes via the lush Hong Kong countryside, encountering a loaded ecosystem, checking out the serene Hok Tau Reservoir, various organic farms and the Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve.

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“The yellow-crested cockatoo, which is a critically endangered species from Indonesia, originally came to Hong Kong [many years ago] via the wildlife trade,” states Andersson of the distinct white birds that can usually be glimpsed soaring higher than the city’s CBD. “The inhabitants that we have here now is a person of the premier remaining in the environment. They are serious characters, very resilient and pretty adaptable, so it is an intriguing circumstance in which they are flourishing somewhere wholly alien.”

Mai Po Nature Reserve is one of the greatest areas to spot a lot of of Hong Kong’s far more than 550 species of birds.

Andersson highlights the place in and close to Hong Kong Park in Central as one particular of the best places to see the cockatoos – not just in Hong Kong but in the complete entire world – with up to 100 of them congregating there at particular moments of the year. “It’s striking to see them when they roost on the skyscrapers and the sun’s likely down. I’m confident the bankers on their convention phone calls are not aware that these critically endangered birds are correct outside the house their window!”

Normal splendor and the urban landscape co-exist in Hong Kong.

At this time pursuing her PhD on the wildlife trade and an released urban populace of yellow-crested cockatoos at the College of Hong Kong, 34-year-previous Andersson has been immersing herself in the normal aspect of Hong Kong as significantly again as she can keep in mind. Getting arrived in the city at the age of two, when her mother and father relocated from Sweden, she grew up on the verdant south side of Hong Kong Island, wherever she delighted in exploring the normal spaces on her doorstep. “I was obsessed with obtaining snakes,” she suggests. “I wasn’t very superior at it nevertheless, but it was enjoyable. It was additional the course of action definitely, just managing close to and looking below rocks and climbing up trees.”

This early thirst for experience led her to seek out a lot more of the city’s normal points of interest anytime she could, a passion which spurred her appreciation of neighborhood biodiversity. “Everyone constantly thinks of Hong Kong as this substantial metropolitan, urbanized landscape, but about 40% of the territory is safeguarded state parks, which have a great deal of incredibly assorted wildlife in them, almost everything from critically endangered pangolins to quite a few diverse species of birds and a myriad of bugs and amphibians and reptiles.”

Wild boar are just one of the numerous kinds of wildlife that can be uncovered in Hong Kong’s state parks.

Among the her private most loved regions to visit is Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve around Tai Po, in which readers can see up to 200 species of butterfly, which includes above 130 that are seldom noticed in Hong Kong. “It’s just magical. You truly feel like you are somewhere else, not fifty percent an hour absent from central Hong Kong.”

As effectively as the more than 240 species of butterfly that are observed in Hong Kong, symbolizing around one-sixth of the full variety of species uncovered in the whole of China, the territory is also residence to far more than 550 species of birds, or about a third of the nation’s whole, and Andersson points to Mai Po Nature Reserve as one of the most effective destinations for those wishing to see some of Hong Kong’s extra uncommon feathered pals. “It’s an significant stopover for migrating birds, so at sure moments of calendar year you can go there and see quite scarce species and species that you really do not usually see in Hong Kong,” she says.

White Dragontail butterflies (Lamproptera curius) can be spotted at Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve.

Andersson also recommends the jungle-set mountaineering trails about Hok Tau Reservoir in Pat Sin Leng Country Park and, for a taste of Hong Kong’s freshest create, Au Regulation Natural Farm close to Yuen Lengthy, exactly where visitors can sample mouth watering, obviously cultivated vegetables and honey. “It truly is heartwarming to know that all those sorts of spots persist, in which people are however farming organic area greens, or they are trying to keep bees and they’re creating their individual honey. That is a facet of Hong Kong that I you should not believe quite a few men and women even know exists.”

Eventually, states Andersson, Hong Kong is a great illustration of how individuals can coexist in harmony with character, and this is a little something that anyone who lives in or visits the town must aid to treasure. “As a city, in terms of sustainability going forward, we need to proceed to preserve this coexistence with mother nature and encourage it wherever we can and assist it exactly where we can,” she suggests. “That to me is the new frontier of conservation, because as Asia – in individual, tropical parts of Asia – turns into much more and much more urbanized, that will be the way we can conserve all the species that we discover.”

In conditions of her individual own mission, Andersson suggests that she hopes to not only converse her research to the common public, but also to interact them in conservation and get them fascinated and participating in info assortment, environmentalism and increasing awareness. “Because if you engage the typical general public or folks who dwell in metropolitan areas, and pique their interest in conservation and environmental research, then which is how we can realize a sustainable long term that consists of individuals and wildlife coexisting alongside one another in even the most cosmopolitan setting like Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong is property to a myriad of intriguing bugs, bouquets and crops.

Go through a lot more about Hong Kong’s wildlife and normal wonders on The Terrific Outside of Hong Kong or for additional info go to Find out Hong Kong.