KUCHING: Two globally-threatened bird species – the Pied Avocet and Eurasian Oystercatcher – have been spotted in the Bako-Buntal Bay near here.
Malaysian Nature Society conservation head Yeap Chin Aik said their discoveries this year and in 2007 by its bird watchers were of historical significance to Malaysia and Borneo.
“The Bako-Buntal Bay is one of Malaysia’s top two migratory waterbird sites (the other is in Selangor). The bay is of international importance for the congregation of migratory winter waterbirds,” he said during a workshop here yesterday. The workshop was organised prior to a conservation study that was to be carried out on the bay.
The project is funded by the Darwin Initiative (UK), Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund and the Environment Ministry of Japan.
The bay, located about 40km north-east of the state capital, is an expanse of inter-tidal mudflats fringed with mangrove forests, bordering Santubong mountain and Bako National Park. It is also a component of the state’s first wetland project.
Yeap said the bay was also a critical site for the conservation of wildlife as it supported an increasing population of the proboscis monkeys.
The waters within the bay support at least three species of dolphins and estuarine crocodiles.
Yeap recommended listing the bay as a flyway network site to get international recognition.
Earlier, Sarawak Planning Unit assistant principal director Andrew Tukau Salang said illegal logging and sand dredging activities not only threatened the feeding and breeding grounds of the wildlife but also the sustainability of the Bako-Buntal Bay.
He said foreign non-governmental organisations and bird experts, including those from Australia, had been monitoring the trends of migratory birds at the bay.
Two villages near the bay – Kampung Bako and Kampung Buntal – survive mostly from fishing and tourism-related activities.