Sarawak has big ecotourism potential for bird watching activities

Abdul Karim (centre) and others promoting the conference and Sarawak tourism. With him (from left) are Yeo, Andrew, Hii and Oswald.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Sept 6: Sarawak can become a massive hot spot for bird watching activities, with 60 rare bird species in the world can be found in Borneo.

Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Malaysia (ECOMY) co-founder and chief executive officer, Andrew Sebastian, said there are 65 rare bird species in the world that are endemic in Malaysia.

“This make Borneo and Sarawak, for that matter, a hot spot for bird watching enthusiast from all around the world.

“There are more than 10,000 bird species worldwide and a total of 796 species of bird are found in Malaysia, where 65 are birds endemic in the country,” he told a press conference on the 10th Asian Bird Fair to be held here between Sept 27 and Oct 1.

“We have a nature heritage that we must look after and we must be proud of it. Malaysia is the best place to watch these rare and endemic bird species in the world, especially here in Borneo and of course here in Sarawak,” he added.

Andrew said that all the bird enthusiast from around the world who will come to participate in the international Asian bird conference in the city will be in for a special treat on the endemic bird species in Malaysia.

“There are many type of eagles in the world but there is only one Borneon Bristlehead ever found here in Sarawak and the Island of Borneo, and it is only endemic here,” he cited on a unique bird species that can be found in Sarawak.

“This is one of the many rare and endemic bird that we are going to talk about and share with the rest of participants and bird enthusiast from all over the world who will congregate here for the conference,” he continued.

Image of the Borneon Bristlehead shown at top right of the photo in a laptop, which is endemic to Borneo.

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said bird enthusiasts from 24 countries are expected to congregate in the city for the conference.

This included those from Australia, Cambodia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, China, Singapore, Solomon Island, Spain, Japan, Uganda, Hong Kong, Korea,Uganda and the United States.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to launch the event at the Kuching Waterfront on Sept 28.

“The objective of the conference is not only about birds but also talk about nature and environment, awareness, tourism, as well as birds in the wild and natural habitat,” Abdul Karim said.

He added that the conference also aim to foster closer ties among bird enthusiasts, sharing views and experiences on common interest and bird watching in ecotourism activities.

He also mentioned that the conference is looking to raise awareness on Sarawak’s conservation effort and protection of the flora and fauna, which are thriving in the state.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Hii Chang Kee, Sarawak Forestry Corporation general manager Oswald Braken Tisen and Kuching Birdwatching Club president Steven Yeo were present. — DayakDaily