The reintroduction of silver pheasant Lophura nycthemera in HongKong : a feasibility study
of dissertation presented to the University of Hong Kong in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science
THE REINTRODUCTION OF THE SILVER PHEASANT LOPHURA NYCTHEMERA INTO HONG KONG: A FEASIBILITY STUDY
Stephen W. Burrows
Over the last half-century, Hong Kong's forest cover has regenerated to the point where approximately 14% of the land area is now covered by forest. Most of this forest is under the protection of the Country Parks or Special Area system, but compared with more mature forests in Guangdong, Hong Kong's forests are fauna-impoverished. It is therefore proposed that a managed species reintroduction be attempted, with the establishment of a Silver Pheasant population as the goal.
A 'benefits chart' was proposed to evaluate the benefits of establishing a population of Silver Pheasants in Hong Kong, and significant benefits to the host ecosystem and to conservation research were identified. Indirect evidence of prior presence was analysed, and reasons for previous extirpation considered. Present day availability of forest habitat and elimination of hunting were considered to address the causes of prior extirpation. The subspecies that would have been present was identified as L n. nycthemera.
Suitable habitat was identified at Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, and the impact of the Silver Pheasant on resident flora and fauna at this site was assessed. Predation threats to the species, both natural and feral, were also considered. No ecological, logistical, legal, social or cultural threats appear to stand in the way of a Silver Pheasant reintroduction, and it was therefore recommended that a reintroduction programme be undertaken, supported by a local captive-breeding programme. A potential source of genetically suitable stock was located at the South China Institute for Endangered Species, and a reintroduction programme was outlined.
VORTEX population survival modelling suggests that a long-term, self-perpetuating Silver Pheasant population would need an area approximately twice as large as the site chosen for the reintroduction. It was proposed that a native tree planting scheme be undertaken to create a habitat corridor between Tai Po Kau Special Area and Shing Mun Country Park, which would then form one contiguous forest large enough to support a self-perpetuating population of Silver Pheasant.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:lophura nycthemera china hong kong wildlife reintroduction
Date of Publication:01/01/2004