Lantau project sparks butterfly fears

Local | Lauren Lau 5 Jul 2019

The Lantau Tomorrow Vision project will pose a serious ecological threat to endangered species of butterflies in Hong Kong, environmental group Green Power says.

The group's concerns about the project come after a type of butterfly was spotted in Hong Kong for the first time in 14 years.

The Cirrochroa tyche appeared in Tong Fuk in south Lantau this year, making it the first time it has been seen in the city since 2005, according to files from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

This type of butterfly is extremely rare in Hong Kong, but is plentiful in Southeast Asian countries. They are orange and have gray eyes and small black patterns on their wings. Another very rare visitor to Hong Kong, a brown Badamia exclamationis, was also spotted in Tong Fuk.

"Ever since the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project was announced, we have scrambled to conduct a butterfly census in south Lantau and Tong Fuk," said Matthew Sin Ka-wah, Green Power's senior environmental affairs manager.

Since 2014, more than 140 species of butterflies have been recorded in the area. Places include Tong Fuk, Shui Hau, Mui Wo, Pui O and Lo Kei Wan. Only Lo Kei Wan is a country park zone.

However, when Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, it indicated there will be a lot of construction to connect the city to the island.

"That will disrupt the compact conservation nest for butterflies that Lantau Island now has," said Sin. "The 'Develop the North, Conserve the South' direction the government said it was going to follow is no longer a reality."

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