Travel: A birdy affair
New Straits Times (Malaysia)
March 23, 2011
by Low Mei May
The Asian Bird Fair will be held in Malaysia for the first
time in 2013 and plans are under way to make it a chirping
success, writes LOW MEI MAY
Head of Communications
Andrew Sebastian of the Malaysian
Nature Society is looking forward to
host the 4th Asian Bird fair in 2013
YOU stay in good hotels and the birds come
to you! Michael Lu of the Wildlife Bird Club of Philippines
says it with a smile, but there’s no mistaking that
sense of envy. He was addressing Malaysian Nature Society
(MNS) members and volunteers at Raptor Watch Week in Tanjung
Tuan, Port Dickson, recently. He shared about his country’s
experience hosting the first Asian Bird Festival last year
in Davao. Malaysia will host the 2013 edition.
Lu says with good facilities such as hotels
and access roads to bird-watching sites in Malaysia, he thinks
the country is in a good position to take bird-watching to
“Last year, we had 200 local and international
participants from bird clubs, wild bird conservation and bird
programme organisations, companies, sponsors, eco-tourism
and cultural heritage promoters. About 6,000 students visited
our two-day festival. We expect Malaysia to do better.”
Lu’s optimism is based on the success of the annual
Raptor Watch Week, which he has never failed to attend. “You
work closely with the local government, Tourism Ministry and
local and international media for awareness and publicity.
Busloads of students come for Raptor Watch Week. So you have
the experience.” MNS communications head Andrew J. Sebastian
is excited about hosting the 4th Malaysia Asian Bird Fair
in 2013. “I’m happy to be part of the MNS team
in charge of hosting the event in Malaysia. The fair will
be similar to Raptor Watch Week, but it’s not going
to take over Raptor Watch Week in March. Instead, it will
be called Raptor Watch in conjunction with Asian Bird Fair
2013,” he says.
He adds that the fair will be a good platform
to rope in more sponsors as it is internationally branded,
with promotions in five other Asian countries, their embassies
and local and international media.
Robert Alejandro and Anna Gonzales hosting the 1st Asian Bird Fair held in Davao, September 2010.
MNS is also working on a conservation message
to go with the fair. Tainan, Taiwan, will host this year’s
festival, followed by Thailand next year.
MNS is the country’s largest and oldest non-government
environmental organisation, with over 4,000 members and 13
branches nationwide. From a core group of society volunteers,
the society’s Kuala Lumpur-based headquarters now has
a team of 30 full-time employees who see to the day-to-day
running of its activities. It has pioneered conservation in
the country for the last seven decades, making a difference
through habitat conservation and environmental education.
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