It may not seem like it, but you live in a biologists’ gold mine. More than 5,000 species have been recorded in Hong Kong and, while many animals prefer to live away from people, plenty of others can be found practically on your doorstep. So grab your binoculars, lace up your walking boots, and see how many of these seven easy wildlife sightings you can make.
These monkeys are common in Hong Kong, with a population of more than 1,800. Many can be found in Kam Shan Country Park (aka Monkey Mountain), and you’re likely to find a bunch of them hanging around the car parks.
These creatures are good for photos, but don’t get too close, and definitely DO NOT give them any food. Not only is feeding the monkeys illegal, but they can quickly turn nasty when you don’t give up your food or even a bag that they think contains food.
Yellow Crested Cockatoo
The Yellow Crested Cockatoo may not be a native species (they are originally from Indonesia), but if you like rare birds there’s no easier one to spot in Hong Kong. Two hundred of this critically endangered species live on Hong Kong Island – though some occasionally fly over to Kowloon.
These adaptable scavengers are extremely common in Hong Kong, and are just as at home in Central as in country parks. Sai Kung Pier is a particular favourite spot of theirs, and seeing huge flocks of them gliding around the Peak at sunset is a wildlife spectacle that’s hard to beat.
Where there’s water, you can bet there’ll be egrets. Two species – the Great and Little Egret – can easily be seen anywhere along our coastlines and urban rivers, peering through the water for small fish to eat. For a glimpse of their more parental (and noisy) side, try Tai Po Market Egretry from March to August.
Once shy animals, Hong Kong’s increasingly bold hogs are now creeping into urban areas often. For a more natural setting, however, try Aberdeen Country Park in the early morning or late afternoon. But keep a safe distance – they’re large, powerful animals. Just because they’ve lost their fear of you doesn’t mean you should do the same.
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Another non-native (this time from Thailand), but definitely a cute one! This squirrel is highly active during the day, and is best seen in Pok Fu Lam and Hong Kong Park. For a real aww moment, watch them scurry through Bauhinia trees from November to March in search of the tasty flowers.
Not to be confused with the feral cows in the New Territories, Water Buffalo are commonly found in the wetlands of Pui O in South Lantau. Traditionally used by farmers to work fields, today they enjoy a much more relaxed life of mud baths and free tick removal, thanks to the local cattle egrets.
Edited by Nicole Moraleda