Bird race to be on Kota Tinggi eco-tourism calendar next year

Bird watchers at the Panti Bird Sanctuary in Kota Tinggi.

THE Southern Peninsular Panti Bird Race will be listed as one of the eco-tourism products in Kota Tinggi from next year.

Kota Tinggi district officer Datin Paduka Hazlina Jalil said that this was in line with the introduction of the Panti Bird Sanctuary at the Panti Forest Reserve.

“Bird race programmes are not only conducted in Johor but also Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Selangor, Pahang, Perlis and Sabah.

“The other programmes include Raptor Watch in Tanjung Tuan, Melaka; Wings of Kuala Kubu in Selangor; Bird Race Bukit Fraser in Pahang; and the Northernmost Bird Race Perlis which was held in October.

“I believe this programme will be able to attract many local and international bird watchers to Kota Tinggi,” she said when contacted.

“We hope it will not only benefit the Forestry Department but also have a spillover effect on locals.

“It is our hope that our district will be well-known for its flora and fauna, and that people will appreciate the efforts that we have taken in protecting the forest reserve,” she added.

Johor Forestry Department director Datuk Salim Aman said the Southern Peninsular Panti Bird Race was organised for the first time in November.

“We wanted to expose more people to bird-watching activities in Johor.

“Bird-watching or birding is actually common in other countries. However, in Malaysia, the activity is only done by a handful of bird enthusiasts.

“There is a lot of potential to grow and develop bird-watching into a full-scale tourism programme through promotions and events,” he said.

Salim added that the programme was also a good way for the department to introduce their new Panti Bird Sanctuary Centre, which opened in August.

“The centre has not been launched yet but we have received 260 international and 130 local visitors to date.

“We hope that this centre will be able to put Kota Tinggi on the aviary tourism map,” he added.

The Southern Peninsular Panti Bird Race is also supported by the Nature Educational Society, Malaysia Nature Society, Malaysia Rainforest Station and Tourism Johor.

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