Author: Dr. R.C.Kendrick. Committee Member & Co-Founder, Hong Kong Lepidopterists’ Society.
It has been brought to the attention of HKLS and GP committee members the repeated rearing and release of non-native Lepidoptera has taken place in Hong Kong, with no less than three non-native species being involved in the last year (2017-2018).
Such actions are not condoned by HKLS and GP.
In line with Butterfly Conservation (the largest invertebrate conservation charity in Europe), who address conservation issues pertaining to butterflies and moths in the United Kingdom, whose position is clearly laid out in their 2010 “Policy on Introductions and Re-Introductions” paper (https://butterfly-conservation.org/files/3.bc-code-on-introductions-and-re-introductions-2010.pdf), the following extracts are of particular relevance anywhere. HKLS and GP cannot reiterate strongly enough that such an approach is applicable to any Lepidoptera conservation programme in Hong Kong that wishes to undertake introductions.
“3) Butterfly Conservation will only devote its own resources to re-introduction as an avenue of last resort – where, for instance, a species has become extinct or is on the verge of extinction, the habitat extent and quality is now suitably restored, and the species has no realistic chance of re-colonising naturally.
4) Butterfly Conservation will consider approving re-introductions if these are in line with Species Action Plan (SAP) and Regional Action Plan (RAP) priorities, and its staff have been fully consulted from the inception of the project.
5) Butterfly Conservation will only approve the re-introduction of butterflies and moths if all of the following conditions are met:
- a) The re-introduction and necessary management for success and persistence has the permission and support of the appropriate landowner.
- b) Extinction is confirmed at the receptor site and natural re-establishment is shown to be unlikely.
- c) The proposal does not conflict with requirements or provisions for legally protected species or sites.
- d) Careful consideration is given to the possibly adverse effects of habitat modification carried out for the re-introduction on other species of conservation concern in the area.
- e) Evidence is provided that the proposal will not have a harmful impact on the donor population.
- f) The habitat requirements of the species and the reasons for its decline are understood, and the causes of its extinction on the receptor site have been removed. There should be a long-term management plan which will maintain suitable habitat, and the site should be large enough to sustain a viable population.
- g) The proposal and selection of donor and receptor sites arises from a recovery strategy for the species.
- h) Evidence is provided of the likely success of the species establishing and sustaining itself
- i) The re-introduction is properly monitored, recorded, and evaluated and the records are submitted to the appropriate recording agencies.
- j) Butterfly Conservation and all other relevant conservation bodies and authorities have been fully consulted about the proposal.
7) Butterfly Conservation encourages the open documentation of all releases, whether or not these take place under its auspices. It strongly discourages the casual release of captivebred stock.”
Further appropriate action, in the Hong Kong legal context, is currently limited. The Hong Kong Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2021, in Annex 1, Area 1 – Enhancing Conservation Measures – lists under Action 7 “Improve management of alien invasive species” three specific actions for alien species, but there is no provision anywhere in the BSAP for protecting Hong Kong’s wildlife from importation and release of non-native (i.e. alien) species deemed non-invasive. Elsewhere, there has been much progress regarding the understanding of impacts caused by deliberate releases of non-native wildlife. For example in Europe, the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and regulation (EU) no. 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, both incorporated into national legislation throughout the European Union, deal with the issue of non-native species releases by strict legal control. In Hong Kong, only species listed under the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species are considered in such strict terms, whereas species not perceived to be endangered have no controls over their being released in Hong Kong. No consideration for Hong Kong’s native wildlife is given. Non-native (i.e. exotic, or alien) species may outcompete for food resources, placing undue stress on native species. One example is the recent arrival of a looper moth (Milionia zonea) in Hong Kong, probably through the horticulture trade, whose larva feed on Podocarpus trees and now threaten the few remaining individuals of native Podocarpus by defoliation.
Consequently, it is only fitting that HKLS and GP call upon the HKSAR Government to properly implement legislation (amending or adding to existing wildlife legislation) to protect Hong Kong’s native flora and fauna from human transported non-native species.
Mr. James John YOUNG
Hong Kong Lepidopterists’ Society
Dr TSANG Po Keung, Eric
- Butterfly Conservation認為不能隨便引進物種，並應視其為最終的保育措施。Butterfly Conservation只會將資源投放在一些已絕跡或頻臨絕跡的物種上，而該物種不能在自然環境下重新建立穩定的群落。同時，引進物種前，必須確定牠們能適應新的生態環境。
- Butterfly Conservation只會考慮支持一些符合《物種保育行動方案》(Species Action Plan) 及《地區保育行動方案》(Regional Action Plan) 的物種引進計劃。在計劃開始前，計劃倡議者必須充分咨詢相關保育團體。
- Butterfly Conservation只會支持符合以下條件的蝴蝶及蛾類引進計劃：
- Butterfly Conservation鼓勵計劃倡議者保持計劃的透明度，切勿胡亂將人工繁殖物種放歸野外。
在海外，對外來物種放歸野外的影響，早有深入的見解。在歐洲，各歐盟成員國的法例正監管入侵性外來物種的引進及防治。反觀香港，只有被列入《瀕危野生動植物種國際貿易公約》内的物種受嚴格監管。外來物種在爭取資源上，常較原生物種優勝，為原生物種的生存構成壓力。舉例來說，橙帶藍尺蛾 (Milionia zonea)是近年經園藝植物引進香港的外來物種，其幼蟲進食羅漢松，牠們正威脅香港僅存的野生羅漢松。