Malaysia, Johor: Bird lovers attend inaugural workshop

Edmund Khoo The Star 17 Dec 12;

NUSAJAYA: More than 50 bird lovers attended the inaugural migratory birds workshop organised by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) recently.

Insurance agent and participant Esther Teo Sian Cheng, 55, said the workshop was well organised and brought back nostalgic memories, which the younger generation might lack.

“The workshop brought me back to my childhood years when the sight of a kingfisher made me reminisce my days in the village in Pontian when I was a child,” she said.

She added that the workshop was balanced and enriching, as she enjoyed every activity planned by the organisers and the transition from IMIC to Kg Sg Melayu was very smooth.

“The workshop reminds us to be more in touch with nature and care for one another in this materialistic world,” she added after seeing the life cycle of the migratory birds.

Another participant, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) graduate Nur Asila Rahim, 23, says the workshop was interesting and educational, as she learnt about the many species of migratory birds in Iskandar Malaysia.

“I saw some of the species introduced during the seminars when we were birdwatching at Kg Sg Melayu, it was an exciting and fresh experience for me,” she said.

“I would definitely recommend this workshop if it is organised again next year to my family and friends,” she added.

The workshop aims at educating and creating awareness on migratory birds and exploring the potential of Kg Sg Melayu as an eco-tourism spot.

Participants were from Government agencies, such as the Economic Planning Unit of Johor, Tourism Malaysia, Johor National Parks Corporation, Department of Environment, Johor Birding Group, Singapore National Parks, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and members of the public.

The workshop commenced at Iskandar Malaysia Information Centre (IMIC), where participants were given seminars on birdwatching and bird identification techniques.

Participants then proceeded on a field trip to Kg Sg Melayu for a boat cruise, crab-catching and bubu-making sessions.

Meanwhile, IRDA chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the workshop was a kick-off to the Iskandar Malaysia Ecotourism Summit, which would be held next month.

“It (the Summit) is held for the first time in recognition of the importance of ecotourism to Iskandar Malaysia’s economic development and we hope to make it an annual event.

“Each year, the programme will focus on different themes related to Ecotourism and highlight not only the attractions in Iskandar Malaysia like our three Ramsar Johor Sites, but also on the socio-economic benefits of Ecotourism to the local communities.

“This is all in line and very much aligned with IRDA’s vision of creating a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing,” said Datuk Ismail, adding this year’s Summit would stress on the importance of Migratory Birds and Avi-tourism.

He added workshops on migratory birds would be held annually in conjuction with the Ecotourism Summit as IRDA will work with the relevant agencies and NGOs to designate sanctuaries for these migratory birds.

Datuk Ismail also said as Johor has been known for its diversity of bird species including these migratory birds, it was only fitting that IRDA spearheads this project together with MNS Johor to educate members of the public on migratory birds.

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