Text and photos by Indiana Russell Leonard & Evander Ethan Leonard at Fraser’s Hill
PAHANG: The 33rd Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race was flagged off yesterday that saw more than 200 local and international bird watchers itching for action after a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The highly anticipated event in the Pahang tourism calendar is held here at Fraser’s Hill for two days, ending today.
The bird watchers have come from countries like Thailand, Vietnam, India and Singapore including host Malaysia, to name a few. There are also a group of bird watchers from Sabah taking part.
Fraser’s Hill is often been referred to as a first-class bird-watching destination in this region since this highland paradise is home to more than 250 species of wild birds.
The competition, organised by Pahang Tourism, is divided into three categories – the advanced category for serious and experienced birdwatchers, the novice category for those who have just taken up birdwatching and the local category for residents there who know the whereabouts of these birds.
Yesterday, there was a talk by Prof. Amran Hamzah entitled ‘Birdwatching in the Wider Context of Ecotourism: Lessons Learned and Relevance to Fraser’s Hill’.
“Every (tourist destination) needs the injection from tourist numbers. This bird race is an opportune time. Fraser’s Hill, like any other destinations, has suffered a lot during the lockdowns.
“But it’s also important that we must try to do things differently so that we bring back tourism in a more sustainable manner,” he told Asia Times Pulse. Prof Amran is a professor in Tourism Planning from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
This followed with another talk by Prof Emeritus Dato Dr Abdul Latiff Mohamad entitled ‘The Importance of Biodiversity Conservation of Bukit Fraser”.
Just before flag off of the bird race competition, there was the launch of a checklist of the birds of Malaysia organized by MNS Bird Conservation Council (BCC).
Other activities in this year’s event include a treasure hunt organized by KRT Fraser’s Hill, a free guided jungle trekking organized by Tourism Pahang, a colouring competition for pre-school and primary school by the Kelab Kebajikan & Rekreasi Tourism Pahang.
Another exciting activity will be a sharing by international teams entitled ‘Avitourism & Avifauna Conservation in Your Country’.
According to Birdlife International, the largest international Partnership for nature conservation, as humans are destroying and consuming nature at a devastating rate, birds are our early warning system.