Macaws spread their wings for varsity’s edutourism campaign

FreeFly Johor Baru Club members releasing their macaws and parrots for free-flying activities at Tasik UTM in Skudai.

MORE than 20 colourful macaws can be seen flying around the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) campus in Skudai as part of its Edutourism Campus initiative.

UTM International deputy director Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Ariffin Abu Hassan said the free-flying initiative started in early October when Johor transitioned to Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan.

“This is one way of sending the message to people that things have returned to normal at UTM and they are welcome to come by to see the birds.

“We wanted to create a fun environment for visitors to our campus and perhaps woo them to further their studies here,” he said when met at Tasik UTM.

He added that the UTM Edutourism Campus programme, which was first initiated in 2009, offered a variety of activities for students, campus staff and the public.

The activities include all-terrain vehicle racing, paintball, kayaking, archery and jungle trekking.

Mohd Ariffin, who is also the Free Fly Johor Baru Club secretary, said the birds belonged to club members who were macaw enthusiasts.

“We started free-flying in UTM in early October last month and the response has been positive.

“Aside from UTM, macaws are also found at Emerald Lake in Iskandar Puteri as part of our partnership with a private company to provide family entertainment to visitors there.

“The programme is held every Saturday from 8am until 10am,” he said, adding that such activities allowed the macaws to get out in the open and fly.

The bird species include Eclectus Parrot, Green-winged Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Blue and Gold Macaw, Green Cheeked Parakeet and Sun Conure Parrot.

“These birds are classified as exotic birds and have permits from the National Parks and Wildlife Department (Perhilitan),” he said, adding that the birds’ diet comprised vegetables and nuts.

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