THERE is great potential for Malim Nawar, a former tin mining town, to be developed into a bird sanctuary.
A recent three-day survey carried out by ecotourism experts, recorded the sighting of 184 different species of birds at the wetlands.
Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (Ecomy) president and chief executive officer Andrew Sebastian said eight sites within the core area of the Malim Nawar wetlands were investigated via transect lines and point observation.
“These birds represent over 42 families of birds, with more than 300 of the most common species — Little Cormorant — spotted there.
“Little Cormorant or known as pependang kecil locally can be found at only two sites in Peninsular Malaysia — Kinta Nature Park in Batu Gajah and Malim Nawar.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Malim Nawar to be promoted as a bird-watching and photography sanctuary,” he said.
Andrew said his non-governmental organisation (NGO) was commissioned by Malim Nawar assemblyman Leong Cheok Keng to conduct a survey of the avian resources and the area’s ecotourism potential.
Noting that the area had many industries, agriculture and issues of poaching of certain birds, Andrew said the ponds and wetlands of Malim Nawar must be conserved and protected.
“It is an important home for local species of birds, wildlife and plants.
“During the bird migration season, this area is even more important as a stopover for birds from all across the north-east continent, including Russia, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
“We have this amazing lateral ‘product’, and ecotourism that can work well here.
“In the long run it will be able to supplement the local community income,” he added.
Leong said he commissioned experts to produce a report on the species of birds, as well as a possible ecotourism area when he realised the potential for a bird-watching sanctuary.
He said in just three days, 184 species of birds were discovered.
“There is great potential for the area to be promoted as an attractive bird sanctuary.
“I have forwarded the report to the state government requesting for an increase in facilities and to promote it as a tourism and bird-watching area,” he added.