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Monday, 3 March 2014

Raptor Watch 2014

DATE : 8 - 9 March 2014                                VENUE : PNB Ilham Resort, Tanjung Tuan                                                              

RW, organised by the Malaysian Nature Society, is a festival to celebrate the return of the migratory birds of prey or better known as raptors on their journey back to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere. RW is a public event meant to raise awareness on the conservation of raptors and their habitats.

One of the main objectives of RW is to ensure the continued conservation of Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve by promoting RW as a national eco-tourism event. During the spring migration, thousands of raptors can be seen flying across the Straits of Malacca. Having to use massive amount of energy flying across the Straits of Malacca, the raptors will be flying low at the event site making it possible to have a good view of these magnificent birds.

Tanjung Tuan has been listed as an important raptor site by BirdLife International, National Geographic Society and Hawkmountain. But for many years Tanjung Tuan has been facing a development threat. The sea front of Tanjung Tuan is expensive real estate. As Tanjung Tuan is an extension of the Port Dickson holidaying coasts, its value as a vacation spot is high. For many years plans after plans were drawn by local authorities to develop Tanjung Tuan. And throughout these years, Malaysian Nature Society has been striving to keep Tanjung Tuan intact.

The need to conserve Tanjung Tuan was mainly for the migratory raptors. Tanjung Tuan is an important stop over site for migratory raptors after crossing the Straits of Malacca. It provides food for the raptors as well as a resting spot. For raptors arriving late in the evening, it provides shelter for the night before they take off for flight the next day. Without Tanjung Tuan, many raptors may never make it back, due to exhaustion and lack of food. The conservation of Tanjung Tuan is also important for its surrounding marine life and its forest growth. The trees in Tanjung Tuan acts a gene bank for tropical timber trees and the waters of Tanjung Tuan is rich with coral and sea-grass, both important for green turtles that lay eggs in secluded beaches of Tanjung Tuan.

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