In need of more birding guides
KUCHING: Sarawak is gaining popularity as one of the destinations in Malaysia for bird-watching among nature lovers from near and far.
As the demands for birding guides increase, there is a need to train licensed nature guides in the state on bird-watching.
To address this need, the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak in collaboration with the Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch (MNSKB) will be organising a bird-watching workshop for beginners at Borneo Highlands Resort, from Aug 22 to 24.
A similar workshop was held two years ago at Kubah National Park.
About 20 participants including licensed guides, park guides, Sarawak Forestry Corporation staff and MNSKB members are expected to attend the workshop.
The hands-on workshop covers topics such as bird identification, how to use binoculars, telescopes and bird field guides, birding ethics and etiquette and bird conservation.
Malaysia has 55 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) out of which 22 are in Sarawak. IBAs are areas which have been identified as being important for birds based on a set of global criteria. These criteria have been developed through the Birdlife International partnership, covering 170 countries. As of 2009, some 11,000 IBAs have been identified globally.
Sarawak’s specialist birds include the Pygmy White-eye Oculocincta Squamifrons which can be easily seen in Ba Kelalan and Borneo Highlands than anywhere else.
Some birds which are rarely seen but can be spotted within the Kuching vicinity include Blue-banded Pitta in Kubah National Park and Borneo Highlands, Borneo Bristlehead in Matang Wildlife Centre and Kuching Wetlands National Park, and Bornean Barbet in Borneo Highlands.
Borneo Highlands Resort which is located on Mount Penrissen is an IBA. The western-most mountain range on Borneo, Mount Penrissen is isolated from the central highland spine of Borneo, and has a distinct ecology. It is a very important area for endemic birds and migratory birds.
The resort is the first property developer in Malaysia to adopt the IBA and commits to managing its property in a manner that protects the IBA, enhances and enriches the environment for birds and builds nature-based activities into its programmes focusing on birds and their habitats.