MIRI: Over 50 nature lovers who are ardent supporters of Piasau Nature Reserve (PNR) took part in the 57th Hornbill Walk on Saturday (July 21), on the eve of Sarawak Day.
Leading the walk was deputy chairman of the Piasau Camp Miri Nature Park Society (PCMNPS), Musa Musbah, who is also a park ranger who did extensive study on the wildlife in PNR particularly the totally protected hornbill – Oriental-pied Hornbill, the iconic bird found at the reserve.
Joining them were the walk coordinator and PCMNPS treasurer Cr Karambir Singh and other exco members including Datin Juriah Wan Morshidi, and Jolly Lim, a former plant pathologist having many years of experience with Singapore Zoo and other environmental projects.
It was a time worth spending with family and friends while appreciating the beauty and tranquillity of PNR. Jimmy, the iconic papa hornbill, was there feeding his soul mate Juliet at the nest in the hollow of the tree near house P58, much to the joy and excitement of participants.
Earlier, when addressing participants of the walk, Musa reiterated PCMNPS’ commitment as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) set up primarily for PNR to continue rallying public support to help make PNR a success story of community project.
“We are ever willing to assist PNR including disseminating relevant information such as why grass here are left to grow tall instead of cutting them, so as to maintain the natural ecological system.
“Before being enlightened on the real fact, many of us believed that these grasses need to be cut,” said Musa.
Karambir, meanwhile, was glad that the 57th Hornbill Walk had attracted more people and assured that the monthly walk would continue to be held irrespective of how many people took part.
“Rain or shine, five or three people or more we will continue to hold the walk and hopefully with the opening of the VIC and more facilities, more people will come for the walk,” he said, adding that PNR was the government’s gift to the people, especially those in Miri.
The Hornbill Walk, held on every third Saturday of the month since 2012, was initially held as one of the efforts by PCMNPS and the Malaysian Nature Society, Miri Chapter to drum up public support to pressure the state government to gazette Piasau Camp, the former residential area for Sarawak Shell employees, as a nature reserve.
It was subsequently gazetted on Dec 2013 for its ecological, aesthetic and historical importance associated with the oil and gas industry since 1910.
Among the rich biological attributes of the 92.6ha (229 acres) PNR are 107 flora species and 75 fauna species including 17 for fauna protected under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 45 for birds (including hornbills), three for mammals, five for amphibians, 12 for reptiles and 10 for butterflies.
Members of the public wishing to enquire about and contribute towards this effort can come personally to the office during office hours or call PNR office at 085-644487.