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Travel: A birdy affair

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 greater heights.

“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.

About MNS
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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