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STOnline: Bird fair attracts 120 foreign delegates

KUCHING: The 10th Asian Bird Fair (ABF) attracted 120 foreign delegates from over 26 countries and 40 local agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gathered to

The foreign delegates were from Cambodia, Australia, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Spain, United States of America, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Uganda and Argentina. Along with the local participants, they came to explore unique and amazing resident birds of Sarawak.

The five-day event, to end on Oct 1, consists of bird-watching and exhibitions as well as a post-event bird-watching tour that will take visitors through key sites in Kuching.

Other activities include guided walk, colouring contest, public talks and also international forum.

For the exhibition, more than 70 booths showcase many bird species around the world.

Karim (second left) with (from left) Zulkifli, Hii and Mike showing the birds sculptures during their visit to the exhibition booths. Photos: Mohd Alif Noni

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah informed that the state government is supportive of hosting the annual event that was created to highlight the different bird fairs in Asia, to promote the protection of birds and their habitats as well as to encourage bird-watching and other ecotourism activities.

“Also known as the Land of Hornbills, Sarawak is home to over 650 species of birds, 60 of which are endemic to the island of Borneo,” he said.

“Thus, we feel Sarawak is the perfect place for bird watchers from all over the world to come over and look forward to the sighting of wonderful species like the Blue Banded Pita and the Black Oriole which are natives to the Borneo Highlands and Paya Maha Highlands respectively,” he added.

He said this when officiating at the opening ceremony of 10th Asian Bird Fair (ABF) 2019 at Kuching Waterfront, late Friday

The school children wear the head gear of hornbill to show support for the event. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

The annual event aimed to promote the protection of birds and their habitats, promote bird-watching as a niche tourism product, and promoting environmental protection and sustainable development especially in Malaysia.

The event is organised by Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (Ecomy) in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Sarawak Tourism Board, and Kuching Birdwatching Club.

This is the second time ABF is held in Malaysia after the first one in Langkawi back in 2014.

Sarawak is the land of the fabled White Rajahs, hornbills and the orangutans. It also has the rainforest which is home to the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystem.

With the highest number of national parks and nature reserves in the whole of Malaysia, Sarawak has over 600,000 hectares of totally protected areas and the most number of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Malaysia with 18 areas in total.

Also present at the event were Ecomy chief executive officer cum organising chairman Andrew Sebastian, the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Tourism Malaysia deputy director general Zulkifli Said as well as ABF co-founders Mike Lu and Victor Yu.

Karim (seventh right), Zulkifli (eight right), Yu (fifth right), Hii (sixth right), committee members and participants poses in a photo call with the event mascot which is a Hornbill during the opening ceremony of 10th Asean Bird Fair 2019 at Kuching Waterfront.

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