Hong Kong red-faced as ‘Olympic’ fish from China dies

June 24th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, June 24 (DPA) Chinese officials gave Hong Kong a ticking off Tuesday after one of five “Olympic” fish presented to the city by China died within days. The rare Chinese sturgeon, one of China’s five Olympic symbols, died Monday, just four days after being publicly released into an aquarium at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park theme park.

Vets believe the 1.1-metre sturgeon, the smallest of five presented by China, was fatally injured when a barracuda sharing the its giant tank bit it Saturday.

Officials from China’s National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association quoted by Hong Kong’s government-run radio station Tuesday questioned whether the fish had been “adequately handled.”

However, the official said the sturgeon would nevertheless be replaced as the five fish given to Hong Kong represented the five rings of the Olympic symbol.

He added that he hoped Ocean Park officials could “better communicate” with Chinese experts to prevent any further accidents involving the sturgeons.

Embarrassed Ocean Park officials have removed the remaining sturgeon from the Atoll Reef attraction where the three-year-old sturgeon met its sticky end.

They said the two species should have been able to co-exist without any problems and called the death of the sturgeon a “natural phenomenon.”

Hong Kong, a former British colony, went back to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. The city of 6.9 million will host the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympics in August.

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