KUCHING: The Malaysian Nature Sociey (MNS) has been challenged to turn its Sarawak Bird Race (SBR) into a full-fledged international event.
Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talip Zulpilip made the call yesterday when launching this year’s race, held together with Borneo Highlands Resort and Permai Rainforest Resort.
“From being a humble mini bird race four years ago, this event now has drawn bigger participation and the involvement of those from outside the state and nation.
“So it is fair enough to challenge the organiser to turn this event into a well known international event,” he said.
He pointed out that the Rainforest World Music Festival, which only drew around 300 festival-goers in its first year, has now reached 20,000 festival-goers from around the world.
“We at the Tourism Ministry are sure to assist in all possible ways to lure more to come and I also promise to put SBR in the state tourism calender next year,” he added.
On the event, Talip said bird-watchers are important to the state as they assist in keeping records of all the species found in Sarawak.
“Their photographs are important to show what species we have in the state and one of the bird watchers, Yeo Siew Teck, last year actually photographed a black oriole, a breed which was claimed to be extinct, in Paya Maga, Lawas,” he said.
Meanwhile, event patron Datu Ose Mureng said this year’s SBR also involved participants from Japan and Thailand, and speakers from as far as Germany.
“I can see that the future of this event is bright, but it all depends on the hard work and dedication given to ensure the success of the event,” he said. He thanked the Tourism Ministry for its support and sponsors HSBC Bank and Leica.