'Important Bird Area' status for Sepilok
Kota Kinabalu: The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) at Sepilok will be declared Sabah's first "Important Bird Area" (IBA) at the launching ceremony of the 1st Borneo Bird Festival 2009 on Saturday, the organisers said.
"This is just the first of probably a string of other IBAs in the State because we know there are many other sites worthy of similar status," noted Cede Prudente, the festival's deputy organizing chairman under forester Dr Robert Ong, the Organizing Chairman.
On who designates IBAs, Prudente cited the opinion of both the Conservation BirdLife International and the Malaysian Nature Society, that RDC more than qualify as an IBA.
"Many people think Sepilok is one single forest type but actually it is composed of four different original forest ecosystems of Sabah - mangrove forest, heath forest, lowland dipterocarp forest and sandstone hill dipterocarp forest each of which is an important bird habitat in its own right," Prudente pointed out.
It's no surprise that more than 300 of Borneo's total 622 bird species are found at RDC and out of the island's total tally of 46 endemic birds, 26 are found at RDC.
A highlight at the launching ceremony will thus be the unveiling of the Important Bird Area plaque by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Peter Pang, at 3pm.
New also to most Sabahans is the idea of a Borneo Bird Race which Datuk Pang will also flag off at 4pm. "It's a 24-hour bird watching competition," Prudente explained.
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