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Hong Kong Baptist University and Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Jointly Launch “Hong Kong Wildtracks” Website - the First Interactive Audio Map for Nature Conservation in Hong Kong

06 Nov, 2019

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The College of International Education (CIE) and the University Library of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), together with The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) annouce the launching of the “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website. Being the first interactive audio map developed in Hong Kong, the “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website intergates geographic information, ecology and scientific research. It includes over 60,000 entries of local ecological data, including the sounds of wildlife and soundscapes, the bird distribution, the species diversity and abundance, providing a better unerstanding of the wildlife of Hong Kong to the education sector and the general public.

Speaking at the press conference held at HKBU Au Shue Hung Memorial Library today were Dr Karen Woo (Lecturer and Course Coordinator of Geography and Resources Management, CIE, HKBU), Ms Rebekah Wong (Head of Digital and Multimedia Services Section, University Library, HKBU) and Ms Christina Chan (Assistant Manager of Education, Art Development and Communications, HKBWS).

Interactive Audio Map of Avifauna Database
"Hong Kong Wildtracks" is developed to promote Hong Kong's biodiversity and support nature conservation. Despite research and education on biodiversity usually rely on vision, senses other than vision are also useful in exploring and studying the nature. The website adopts nature sound along with information from bird research which makes it an interactive audio map incorporating an avifauna database.

Ms. Christina Chan shared: “The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society was set up for over 60 years by British birdwatchers. From that time, they recorded what kind of birds they saw, their distribution and abundance in HK, but most of the records are only in paper format and restricted to members. Today “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website converts these data into digital format and is open for public access. The theme of website adopts nature sound as people always hear birds in nature but don’t know who they are. Now the general public can identify and recognise the bird types through the website. The sound of each bird has its own uniqueness. Some songbirds like warblers can only be identify by their singing melodies. Some birds will only sing during the breeding season and will call in the rest of the year. So birdwatchers or scientists will know when they are ready to breed.”

Local Ecological Data Available for Education and Scientific Research
Hong Kong has rich biodiversity and is the home of plenty wildlife even though we have a small land area of around 1,100 km2. Through the interactive website, the general public can understand and appreciate the wonderful nature, and meanwhile the academics and university students can make use of the database in the website for conducting scientific research.

Dr Karen Woo said: “Our students supported the Bird Atlas survey and I am also grateful to get involved in this joint project to analyse the datasets and support the design of the “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website. The website can help us understand the bird distribution and breeding status over the past 20 years, which would be invaluable for supporting local biodiversity research, ecological assessment and long-term monitoring for protecting the threatened habitats and species. I encourage teachers to use this website to deepen students’ interests and awareness in nature conservation.”

Ms Rebekah Wong added that HKBU Library has been providing digital scholarship support for faculty members to share research data with the public. She was particularly pleased that the Library was able to participate in such a meaningful project, which helps the community to better understand and appreciate the natural environment. The Library made use of the latest GIS technology to develop the “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website with a view to integrating survey data, geographic locations, bird and animal information, pictures, and soundtracks all in one place.

In addition, an exhibition on “Hong Kong Wildtracks” is now open to the public on the third floor Lobby of the Hong Kong Baptist University Library. The opening hours are from 9am to 9pm until 20 November. You are most welcome to visit the “Hong Kong Wildtracks” website at: https://digital.lib.hkbu.edu.hk/hkwildtracks/index.php?lang=EN