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Beijing to give five more sturgeons to Hong Kong
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The central government will give Hong Kong five more Chinese sturgeons to replace one that died earlier, and the new fish will go on display on the opening day of the Olympic Games, Ocean Park announced yesterday.

The donation was confirmed after the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association and Ocean Park signed an agreement last Wednesday.

At the end of June, one of the five Chinese sturgeons previously given to Hong Kong by the association died after being bitten by barracudas at Ocean Park.

Wei Qiwei of the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences explained that they have to give Ocean Park five new sturgeons because a total of five sturgeons have to go on display at the same time to signify the five Olympic rings ahead of the Beijing Olympics. However, there is not enough time to prepare just one sturgeon, which is a freshwater fish, to join the first batch of sturgeons in salt water.

Grateful for the support and trust from the association, chairman of Ocean Park Allan Zeman said the five new fish will be displayed in an aquarium which is to be converted from the existing Shark Aquarium.

The five new fish, measuring two meters long each, are between seven and nine years old.

The new fish will arrive in the territory before the end of July and will be unveiled for public viewing from August 8.

The first batch is expected to join the newcomers at the new aquarium by the end of this year when the second batch is expected to be fully prepared to live in salt water.

The number "9" means luck according to Chinese tradition, the chairman remarked.

He said he hopes the designated aquarium will provide better protection to the rare fish.

"Experts from the mainland and our own experts will take every precaution to protect the fish," he said.

(China Daily HK Edition July 15, 2008)

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