Nature society appreciates understanding on oversight in naming fledgling hornbills


Musa (third left) and Piasau Camp Miri Nature Park Society president Datuk Sebastian Ting (third right) leading others during the 20th Hornbill Walk last month.

MIRI: The Piasau Camp Miri Nature Park Society expresses its gratitude to the local Iban community for their willingness to forgive the oversight on the society’s part in naming the offspring of Oriental Pied hornbill ‘Keling’ and ‘Kumang’.

“I am happy that the controversy has been resolved speedily. Our heartfelt thanks to Pemanca Wilson Siang Lim, who on behalf of the Iban community here, has accepted our apology.

“The Pemanca has also reiterated his support for Piasau Nature Reserve and the conservation of the hornbills there,” said the society’s deputy chairman Musa Musbah yesterday.

News on the naming of the two fledgling birds as ‘Kumang’ (princess) and ‘Keling’ (prince), published on thesundaypost, was not well-received by many local Ibans who regarded such act as ‘insulting’ and ‘offensive’.

Local Iban community activist Bill Kayong was quoted as saying that the Iban names should not have been used in the first place, given their link with deep-rooted Iban beliefs.

“Kumang and Keling are people of ‘Panggau Libau’ (home of the gods) where they are the ‘Petara’ (gods) of the Ibans. Such names should not be levelled with those of animals,” he told The Borneo Post on Sunday.

Following protests, Musa made public apologies on both print and social media, clarifying further that the young hornbills would be renamed ‘Musa’ (male) and ‘Cecilia’ (female).

Meanwhile, Musa called on members of the public here to join the ‘Hornbill Walk’, scheduled for March 21.

“The programme will start at 4.30 pm at the car park in front of the old Tenby International School. Admission is free,” he said.