Raptor Watch needs more publicity


THE Tanjung Tuan Raptor Watch, an annual event to witness migratory birds of prey, or raptors, on their journey from their wintering sites in Indonesia and Australia to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere, officially took place on March 11 and 12.

Tanjong Tuan, previously known as Cape Ricardo, is on the border between Negri Sembilan and Melaka.

In fact, this land protrusion is already within the state of Melaka.

Tanjung Tuan is a sharp cape supporting a low hill 274m high.

This is the only hill along the many kilometres of coastline here.

The hill is heavily forested and still retains what is left of a tiny marine park as well.

And this is the spot that creates turbulence, updraft and a forest for the migrating raptors to rest.

During their long journey, the raptors do not waste their energy flying.

Instead, they rise to the optimum altitude with the help of thermals (upward columns of hot air created by heating of the land) and the prevailing winds would help them to glide to their next destination.

When crossing the Malacca Strait, the birds wait for the morning sun to heat up the land surrounding Rupat Island and then ride the thermals to reach the ideal height before they continue their journey.

This ideal condition occurs within a short period of time and large numbers of the birds gather in the morning to wait for the right amount of thermals to take them to heights of over 2,000m and the strong westerly/south-westerly winds blowing consistently for a while, to bring them across the wide expanse of water in the Malacca Strait.

Believe it or not, this condition occurs like clockwork each year within a couple of weeks in March.

Therefore, enthusiasts and holidaymakers alike must know exactly when they need to gather at Tanjung Tuan to enjoy this natural spectacle.

I have noticed that both the Port Dickson local council and the Negri Sembilan state tourism board do not seem to be doing enough to promote this natural phenomenon.

I did not see even a single bunting or banner highlighting this event in town.

I really hope to see some bunting and banners on display to create more awareness of this natural phenomenon among the locals next year.

LIONEL PERERA

Port Dickson