Malaysia: International bird-watchers congregating at Kenyir

ADRIAN DAVID New Straits Times 23 Mar 18;

HULU TERENGGANU: From tomorrow, Terengganu’s Tasik Kenyir will be a meeting point for international bird and nature lovers for the sixth annual Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest.

The two-day event organised by Tourism Terengganu, hopes to create environmental awareness and popularise bird-watching activities.

Event organising chairman Alex Lee said that the international field of 80 would include bird-watching specialists from the United States, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan and Canada.

He said they would be joined by participants from the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin and the Central Terengganu Development Authority (Ketengah).

Lee added that the quest would include lectures, workshops, jungle-trekking, a speed-boat cruise to the National Park for bird-count, canopy walk and bird-watching at Sungai Petang and Sungai Buweh ‘Kenyir Hornbill Valley’, catch-and-release of fly-fishing, a visit to the Kelah Sanctuary and an overnight stay at the boathouse.

“The public are welcome to join in this unique event to enjoy the wealth of nature and wildlife in Terengganu.

“Even National Geographic recently featured the importance of birds, highlighting two species found at Tasik Kenyir,” said Lee, who is also Ping Anchorage Travel and Tours managing director.

He added that the event was also aimed at getting commitment among the community to conserve the environment, especially flora and fauna, to tourism industry players.

“We are confident that the event will offer participants and visitors a deeper experience, raising awareness of Terengganu’s environmental heritage,” said Lee, who is also Terengganu Tourist Association deputy chairman and the annual Terengganu International Eco and Marine Tourism Conference organising chairman.

Kenyir, he added, was one of the main places for birdwatching activities in Malaysia.

“Based on studies, there are 296 different bird species, including that of nine hornbills, and resident and migratory birds in Tasik Kenyir.

“The larger birds include nine hornbill species and 20 species of prey-birds or raptors.

“Birds of various colours and sizes play an important role in the ecosystem.

“Most of the birds are easily seen and found not far from the lake’s Gawi Jetty,” said Lee.

The hornbill species at Tasik Kenyir are ‘oriental pied, great, rhinocerous, white-crowned, wrinkled, helmeted, bushy-crested, wreathed and black’.

More importantly, Lee said that Kenyir was surrounded by unspoilt natural flora and fauna, which made it a suitable location for research and adventure.

The lectures will be conducted by Terengganu MNS committee member and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin lecturer Anuar McAfee on ‘Why Birds?’; MNS president Henry Goh on ‘MNS, Birdlife International and Environmental Conservation through the Protection of Birds and their Habitat’;

American flyfishing angler Chris McIIravy on ‘Economic and Environmental Benefits of Flyfishing in Terengganu’; conservation science research group Rimba representative John Mathis on ‘Tasik Kenyir, Wildlife and Future State Park’; and Bird Group Taman Negara representative Abdul Jalil Abdul Rahman on ‘‘Bird Watching: Benefits for People and the Environment’.