KUALA LUMPUR, 9 May 2020: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is calling for the government and citizens to protect migratory bird species by better preserving their natural habitat in the country’s coastal wetlands. In conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day on 9th May, with the theme “Birds connect our world”, MNS wants Malaysians to fully appreciate nature and celebrate this fascinating bird migration phenomenon.

Each year, migratory birds travel thousands of kilometres between the northern and southern hemispheres, stopping along coastal mudflats to roost, feed and rest before continuing their journey. Malaysia is blessed to be within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which ranges from Arctic Russia and North America all the way to Australia and New Zealand, and is used by some 50 million birds.

The country’s most important migration stops include Bako-Buntal Bay in Sarawak, and the North Central Selangor coast and Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda coast in Peninsular Malaysia. Unfortunately for the migratory birds looking to feed on molluscs and invertebrates to survive, the two Peninsular sites are facing threats from coastal development, aquaculture, water pollution and plastic waste.

Malaysia has been one of the government partners of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership since 2012, and yet the only designated flyway site thus far is Bako-Buntal Bay. MNS calls on the government to prioritise nomination of the North Central Selangor Coast as a flyway site, and encourage research in the wetlands of Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda, towards better protection for these visitors to our shores.

MNS also urges the public to be involved in migratory waterbird conservation by participating in activities and being a part of the Society’s Flyway Campaign. This long-term programme collaborates with local communities, municipalities, government agencies and corporations to run a variety of citizen science activities, such as the Asian Waterbird Census (January) and Raptor Count (March). Meanwhile, fun nature awareness events for the public come in the form of the annual Raptor Watch, in the coastal forest of Tanjung Tuan, and Pesta Sayap, in the mangrove haven of Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

As we mark World Migratory Bird Day, MNS entreats all Malaysians to consider the plight of these world travellers. As it is, some species abundantly found in their thousands just a decade ago are left in their hundreds, for example the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed sandpiper, whose global population is estimated at only 240 to 456 individuals.

Birds connect our world, and by connecting with each other and championing our birds, we can help conserve nature and the planet.

Click here to read the full press release.