Mara of the forest

Sai Kunger Mara McCaffery embarked on a life-changing trip to Borneo in 2008 and a year later set up animal-welfare charity Orangutan Aid.

Tell us about your relationship with Sai Kung.
Sai Kung is home. We arrived in Hong Kong nearly 11 years ago and during our research into where to live, we took a mini bus to Sai Kung. As we came around the corner after Marina Cove and caught a first glimpse of the beautiful bay and headland we knew that this was it! We found a tiny flat in a great location and have been here ever since. To be living in Hong Kong yet surrounded by nature – wild boar, snakes, birds and feral cattle – is a great privilege. I love the feeling of community that still exists despite the many changes.
Favourite thing to do?
I enjoy social sailing as long as Iʼm “bribed” with a squid lunch at Pak A, but I prefer to keep my feet on terra firma. I love the walk to Trio beach – it’s in my backyard; I can step out of my door and be on the track in two minutes. Where else in the world can you live in an urban environment, and still be able to do that? Otherwise I enjoy hiking up Ma On Shan: it’s a punishing upward climb for the first 45 minutes, but the view and the lure of a coffee and pastry back in Sai Kung keeps you going.
Any local issue you are passionate about?
I am an animal lover and passionate about local animal welfare and environmental conservation issues. I volunteer for Hong Kong Dog Rescue and the Animals Asia Foundation.
If you could change one thing about Sai Kung what would it be?
I would make it illegal to keep those huge fish in inappropriately small tanks in some of the waterfront restaurants, it’s incredibly cruel. And I would make the waterfront a grassy area again.
Best piece of advice you were ever given?
“You can make it happen.” When I was having doubts about starting my first business in 1990, I was encouraged to believe in my abilities – it’s become my motto.
Tell us about your latest project.
My latest project is Orangutan Aid (www.orangutanaid.com), which came about after a life-changing trip to Borneo in 2008. Orangutans in the wild are on the verge of extinction mainly because of the wanton destruction of their rainforest habitat. Seeing this destruction first hand, and the terrible consequences for orangutans and hundreds of other species, not to mention the millions of tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere, galvanised me into action. The wider implication of my quest to help save the orangutan, is also to fight against issues such as global warming and climate change which affect us all, and the future generations. Through Orangutan Aid, Iʼm trying to increase peopleʼs awareness of the situation and educate the younger generation by giving talks and presentations. The money which is raised is used to support the work done by Orangutan Foundation International which runs the Care and Rehabilitation Centre where I spend one month a year as a volunteer. Being part of this supportive community in Sai Kung made it possible for me to embark on this project.Tell us about your relationship with Sai Kung.Sai Kung is home. We arrived in Hong Kong nearly 11 years ago and during our research into where to live, we took a mini bus to Sai Kung. As we came around the corner after Marina Cove and caught a first glimpse of the beautiful bay and headland we knew that this was it! We found a tiny flat in a great location and have been here ever since. To be living in Hong Kong yet surrounded by nature – wild boar, snakes, birds and feral cattle – is a great privilege. I love the feeling of community that still exists despite the many changes.Favourite thing to do? I enjoy social sailing as long as Iʼm “bribed” with a squid lunch at Pak A, but I prefer to keep my feet on terra firma. I love the walk to Trio beach – it’s in my backyard; I can step out of my door and be on the track in two minutes. Where else in the world can you live in an urban environment, and still be able to do that? Otherwise I enjoy hiking up Ma On Shan: it’s a punishing upward climb for the first 45 minutes, but the view and the lure of a coffee and pastry back in Sai Kung keeps you going.
Any local issue you are passionate about? 
I am an animal lover and passionate about local animal welfare and environmental conservation issues. I volunteer for Hong Kong Dog Rescue and the Animals Asia Foundation.
If you could change one thing about Sai Kung what would it be?
I would make it illegal to keep those huge fish in inappropriately small tanks in some of the waterfront restaurants, it’s incredibly cruel. And I would make the waterfront a grassy area again.
Best piece of advice you were ever given?
“You can make it happen.” When I was having doubts about starting my first business in 1990, I was encouraged to believe in my abilities – it’s become my motto.
Tell us about your latest project.
My latest project is Orangutan Aid (www.orangutanaid.com), which came about after a life-changing trip to Borneo in 2008. Orangutans in the wild are on the verge of extinction mainly because of the wanton destruction of their rainforest habitat. Seeing this destruction first hand, and the terrible consequences for orangutans and hundreds of other species, not to mention the millions of tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere, galvanised me into action. The wider implication of my quest to help save the orangutan, is also to fight against issues such as global warming and climate change which affect us all, and the future generations. Through Orangutan Aid, Iʼm trying to increase peopleʼs awareness of the situation and educate the younger generation by giving talks and presentations. The money which is raised is used to support the work done by Orangutan Foundation International which runs the Care and Rehabilitation Centre where I spend one month a year as a volunteer. Being part of this supportive community in Sai Kung made it possible for me to embark on this project.

 

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