RAPTOR WATCH 2011: Come Together Forest for People & Birds a Success!!
Last weekend, the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) hosted the 12th Raptor Watch event (RW) at PNB Ilham Resort, 10th Mile Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson on the 12th and 13th March 2011. This year, we celebrated our annual event together with the 2011 International Year of Forests decreed by the United Nations.
Raptor Watch was first held in 2000, and has become the biggest and most widely attended public event for MNS. Our theme this year "Come together, forest for people and birds" was very much in line with MNS's passion and objective to conserve natural habitats and forest landscapes. Its main objective is to make all Malaysians aware of probably the most spectacular natural phenomenon in Peninsular Malaysia - thousands of raptors (birds of prey) making landfall at Tanjung Tuan.
Last year, 73 152 raptors were recorded by our raptor counters for 43 days and this year, we continue to count their arrival until the 3rd of April 2011. Five main species of migratory raptors will pass through Tanjung Tuan and these species are; the Oriental Honey-Buzzard, (Pernis ptilorhyncus), Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes), Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis), Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis) and the Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus).
RW also serves as a platform to create awareness on the need to protect Tanjung Tuan, as a coastal rainforest (and its adjacent mangrove areas) and as a valuable natural resource. MNS's President, Assoc. Prof. Dr Maketab Mohamed added that "The government and the local community must come together to continuously support MNS's efforts for conservation and in keeping Tanjung Tuan as the best working model since eco tourism and conservation will benefit us all in the short, medium and long term." He also stressed that Malaysia must not convert any of our natural forests and to remain vigilant in keeping our forests intact as we have come to a critical point.
Listed in the Directory of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia, Tanjung Tuan, together with 54 other sites in Peninsular and East Malaysia, has been identified as key sites for conservation of biodiversity using birds as key indicators to gauge the health of the environment.
Through RW, the MNS hopes to protect this incredible natural spectacle and ensure these raptors continue to travel through Malaysia safely, as they have done for hundreds and thousands of years. As our changing climates has become a global and national issue of late, RW also aims to educate the public on the effects of climate change on raptor migration and the habitats that support them as well.
This year, RW was graced by our Asian partners from Bird Conservation of Thailand, Nature Society of Singapore, Chinese Wild Bird Federation of Taiwan, Kenting National Park Taiwan, Wild Bird Society of Tainan, Wild Bird Life Club of Philippines and Raptor Indonesia. Our list of sponsors were, partner in nature BirdLife International, Main Sponsor Carrefour, PNB Ilham Resort as our venue sponsor, BFM 89.9 The Business Station as our first and official radio station, Minox Germany as our official sports optics, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), IJM, Shell, Schmidt Marketing, Omicron, FutureLab, Bros, Vive, UOB, Chawan and The BodyShop.
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