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Thursday July 24, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday July 24, 2014 MYT 7:32:46 AM
by elan perumal
Spreading its wings: A Cattle Egret takes o ff from its nest.
THE presence of migratory birds in two residential areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor has got some residents worried that the birds have become the target of poachers.
This is due to other residents complaining that the birds are a nuisance because of the loud noises they make as well as the droppings in the neighbourhood.
One of the affected areas is a former dumpsite in Taman Beringin, Jinjang Utara which had become the nesting ground of egrets and herons while the other area is a vacant plot of land in Bandar Utama that is also a favourite spot for egrets.
The birds at these two areas are from four species, namely the Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret and the Black Crowned Night Heron. They have been listed as protected species under the second schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
A Selangor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) officer said those who hunt the protected species without special permit may face a maximum fine of RM100,000 or jailed three years, or both.
A sight to behold
Checks by StarMetro showed that the birds had become a talking point among residents who would gather in the late evening near the primary school in Jalan Permai in Jinjang Utara to have a closer look.
K.Y. Chong welcomed the presence of these birds.
“The sight of them in flight during twilight is beautiful. Watching them flying and resting on the tree tops is like nothing I have ever seen.”
Another resident who wanted to be identified as Wong, said the nesting area used to be an illegal dumpsite.
He said their numbers had almost doubled over the past two years.
“Since the rubbish dump was closed, the area has been rehabilitated with many trees planted.
“It seems to have become an ideal nesting area for the birds,” added Wong.
The only grouse among some residents, added Wong, was the loud squawking as well as the bird droppings.
Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw acknowledged that some residents complained about the birds to him,” Tan said.
“They said the bird droppings made the area unsightly and it also emitted an unbearable stench.
Apart from causing a nuisance to the residents in the area, Dr Tan also highlighted concerns about poaching.
“Some unscrupulous people are hunting the Great Egrets and collecting their eggs.
“I have informed Kuala Lumpur City Hall and urged them to take action against the culprits.”
Dr Tan added that proactive measures were needed to be done to protect the birds while looking after the welfare of residents
When contacted, Perhilitan said enforcement officers would investigate the matter.
A spokesman said poaching was an offence under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
“We hope residents will help us nab the poachers,” he added.
Threat to wildlife
The egret population in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, has seen a drastic reduction after their habitat was destroyed.
A bicycle shop owner in Jalan BU 4, who declined to be identified, said some workers had cut down the trees where the birds were nesting, following complaints from residents in the area.
“There was a large flock of egrets and herons in this fenced-off area.
“The birds were thriving at a pond but the noise used to disturb residents.
“Some complained and the landowners decided to take matters into their own hands,” he said.
He added after the trees were felled, many of the hatchlings and young chicks died.
He also said one of the young egrets had hopped over the fence and ended up in his care.
“I reported this to Perhilitan and their enforcement officers came to collect the bird,” he said.
Other residents and business owners in BU4 have criticised the action of their less wildlife-friendly neighbours.
A hair salon owner, who did not want to be identified, said the birds did not pose a threat to the human population.
“It is sad to see the young egret chicks die after their nests were destroyed,” she said, adding a generation of birds had been sacrificed because of their habitat’s proximity to the residential area.
Despite the destruction of their habitat, some birds are still nesting in the area.
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