Thursday, April 30, 2009

Burning Up Suai

These shots were taken April 18th 2009. Burning up of Suai to clear the lots of tree roots and what not to make way for young palm oil seedlings. The entire landscape from the side of the coastal highway to the coast are destined to be planted with green gold.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green Turtle Skeleton in Kuala Nyalau

We stumbled upon a skeleton of a juvenile Green Turtle (as indentified by Ali) just before Nyalau River on our way from Suai 25th April. Only the carapace and a few pieces of bones were found in the beach.

We are not so sure who's bone this belongs to, it was lying next to the bones of the the turtle.

Baby Owl in Kampung Kuala Nyalau

Walking around in Kampung Kuala Nyalau last weekend we stumbled upon a baby owl holed up in a large wiremeshed box under a shed, we think it was for sale. It could've been a nestling "saved" by a villager in the hope of either keeping it as a pet or to be sold as one.

What do you do when encountered with such a situation? Release the bird to the wild to certain death. A juvenile who has yet to be trained for a life in the jungle will find it difficult to find food. Its survival in the wild is extremely chancy at best, death by predator or death by starvation.

The other option isn't too hot either. To be kept in captivity till adulthood, kept as a pet and regularly fed what humans think is appropriate. If it's lucky, it'll survive till adulthood in a caged environment. And what happens after that? Who will be teaching it the skills to survive on it's own as nature intended it to.

This is only one example, there are others.

A leopard cat saved from forest clearing kept till adulthood spends his entire life in a cage under a longhouse. A beautiful specimen not meant to live the life it's living. It doesn't deserve to die either.

A Malayan civet cat kept as a pet temporarily surviving on fruits and bananas.

A young tarsier who got lost and found itself scrambling the gates of a bungalow in a dense residential area.

A juvenile crocodile kept as pet after it was found trapped in fishing net.

The list goes on ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Miri Branch AGM in July

MNS Branches play an integral part in ensuring the success of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

The success of the branch depends on how well the Branch EXCO execute their duties and responsibilities. During your term in office, you have an exciting opportunity to increase your leadership as well as depth of knowledge pertaining to the environmental issues surrounding Malaysia.

The EXCO position is not only an opportunity, it is a challenge. As Branch EXCO, you must stimulate enthusiasm and accomplish goals by motivating MNS members as well as public.The Branch EXCO serves as a liaison between Council, MNS Secretariat and MNS members in your state.

The Council delegates certain responsibility to you. Some of these responsibilities will be overseeing the programming and administrative needs of members such as organizing talks and field trips, promoting environmental education outreach and organising social events.

Branch EXCO Objectives
Branch ensures MNS members get the service they need at the local level. The following objectives assist the Branch EXCO to clearly understand their roles so that they can better serve MNS members.

1. Advocate for conservation of key habitats and species at the branch level as well as in Malaysia. Your top priority is to ensure conservation issues at the local level is made known to MNS members.

2. Build a future generation of environmentally-conscious Malaysians by integrating public awareness-raising processes into all planning and development programmes and events at the branch level.

3. Motivate civil society participation in planning and decision-making processes at the branch level where everyone can learn, grow and appreciate the natural heritage of Malaysia.

4. Focus on membership growth and achieve a solid voice at the branch level.

Branch EXCO’s Commitment
1. Growth
Ensure no loss in the finance of each branch. When a branch ceases operations, we have lost an invaluable opportunity to deliver the benefits of MNS membership.
Enlist the assistance of Secretariat Office to do whatever it takes to make sure every branch has at least 50 members.

2. Improved Branch Communication
Hold at least 4 branch meetings and 1 Branch Annual General Meeting each year. Use these meetings strategically to ensure the success of the branch.

3. Active Branch Representation in Council

Branch is an important component of MNS Council. Attending and participating in Council Meeting, normally 4 times in a year ensures branch involvement in MNS policy decision making process. It also gives an opportunity to branch to share their development plans at the branch level.

MNS Miri Branch will be voting for the following key positions for the branch at our upcoming Branch AGM in July (exact date, venue and agenda to be announced separately by Branch Secretary):

Elected position, presently position held by Nazeri Abghani.

Responsible to Council and undertakes responsibilities determined by Council.
Responsible for Branch supervision and operations.
Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in promoting MNS to members as well as public.
Leads Branch Exco in developing annual strategy and programmes.
Chairs the Branch EXCO meetings as well as Branch AGM.

Vice Chairperson
Elected position, presently vacant.

Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in the absence of Branch Chairperson.
Assist in developing annual strategy and programmes.

Honorary Secretary
Elected position, presently vacant. Grace Len acting.

Responsible for Branch records and correspondence.
Custodian of MNS Rules and Regulations and other official branch documents.
Submits annual return to Registrar of Society.
Records and read minutes of branch meetings and Branch AGM.

Honorary Treasurer
Elected position, presently held by Sim Yuh Thin.

Responsible for development and execution of financial policies, procedures, audits
and controls at branch level.
Receives and disburses funds in payment of all obligations.
Develop and recommend annual budget to Branch EXCO.

Ordinary Committee Members
Elected position, presently Amer Matridi Abu Mansur Matridi is acting.

Specific role to assist Branch EXCO in areas of membership, public relations, succession planning, establishing conservation and environmental education programmes and initiation of new project initiatives.

Co-opted Committee Members
Coopted by EXCO at the Branch AGM
Presently Charlie Lee, Amer Matridi Abu Mansur, Amelia Bertha Sipporo

To assist with the organising and running of specific activities of the branch.

The Branch AGM requires that the total number in attendance should be twice the total number of Branch EXCO members. Your support to ensure the success of our AGM and future branch activities is crucial. Come join us and help shape the future direction of MNS Miri Branch.

Please email if you'd like to be involved and serve on the EXCO. Your branch needs you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Malaysian Plover at Tanjung Payung 26-April!

It was worth it! The 22kms of hot sun ... the mom and dad Malaysian Plover are somewhere nearby. Two juveniles spotted, only one photographed.

1st Photo by Nazeri Abghani
2nd Photo by Sara Wong.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gruesome finds on the beach (Bungai-Kuala Sibuti) April

Anthony's (MNS Kuching, MNS KBBG, MNS WG) been beachcombing furiously the past few months as part of his consultancy work on beautiful our shores. Here are two of his more gruesome finds on the beach recently.

Green Turtle.

Finless porpoise.
All pictures by Anthony Wong.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Suai-Nyalau Walk 24-26th April

This trip is a continuation of our December Long Walk to cover the Suai-Nyalau leg, a section we omitted previously.

We will be spending one nite in Kpg Kuala Suai to get to know the approximately 20 house village, an another nite in Kpg Kuala Nyalau. We hope to be able to show the villages some pictures and movies of our journey through the coastal section during our stay with the villages. We are hoping to visit the 112 year old crocodile shaman and family is Suai and talk about crocodiles an dhis craft.

We will also be doing one full day of walking from Kpg Kuala Suai to Kpg Kuala Nyalau, a section of approximately 20-25kms. We will definitely stop by the famed Tanjong Payung and delve deeper into the legend and myth of the place.

Our general itenarary:

24th April Friday
1300 hrs Meet in Bekenu town for supplies and fuel
Travel to Suai bridge to meet our boatmen
1500 hrs Travel to Kpg Suai by boat along Sg Suai,
Spend the day photographing this 20 house village
Visit Crocodile Shaman
Spend the nite with Tuai Rumah Kpg Suai

25th April Saturday
0630 hrs Take a boat across Sg Suai,
Walk to Kuala Nyalau,
1100 hrs Check-out Tg Payung
1800 hrs Check-in Kuala Nyalau Resort
2000 hrs Slideshow
Overnite in Kuala Nyalau Resort ($100/person)

26th April Sunday
0630 hrs Breakfast at Resort
0800 hrs Explore Tanjong Haik
1100 hrs Lunch at Resort
1230 hrs Travel to Miri

Combined photography and trek across fishing villages of rural Sarawak. Watch this space, photographs and stories to follow.

Pak Yusop Gayu of Kpg Suai and Kpg Muhibbah (he keeps two houses!)

WMBD 2009 in Similajau National Park

Close ooperation with Similajau National Park has enabled MNS Miri to extend WMBD 2009 to the park. Our Similajau Program will cater to schoolchildren surrounding the park, park staff and their family.

09th May Saturday
Talk, Slideshow and Excursion
0730 Arrival of (30) students to Similajau NP, Registration
0800 Talk and Slideshow on Birds and Birdwatching by Denis Degullacion
1000 Excursion around the Park and Mangrove Plankwalk led by John and Denis
1200 End of Session

Talk, Slideshow and Excursion
1330 Arrival of (30) students to Similajau NP, Registration
1400 Talk and Slideshow on Birds and Birdwatching by John Bakar
1600 Excursion around the Park and Mangrove Plankwalk led by John and Denis
1800 End of Session

10th May Sunday
Talk, Slideshow and Excursion
0730 Arrival of (30) students to Similajau NP, Registration
0800 Talk and Slideshow on Birds and Birdwatching by John Bakar
1000 Excursion around the Park and Mangrove Plankwalk by John and Denis
1200 End of Session

Talk, Slideshow and Excursion
1330 Arrival of staff and family to Similajau NP, Registration
1400 Talk and Slideshow on Birds and Birdwatching by Nazeri Abghani
1600 Excursion and the Park and Mangrove Planks led by John, Denis, Nazeri
1800 End of Session

This event is brought to you by Similajau National Park, SFC-Bintulu Office, Malaysian Nature Society Miri Branch and Borneo Bird Club.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

WMBD 2009 in Miri

Following our successful program for WMBD 2008, we are celebrating WMBD 2009 in Miri again!

These are the activities that we plan to undertake in conjunction with the World Migratory Bird Day 2009 "Barriers to Migration". These excursions, talk and slideshows will be led by members of our MNS Miri BirdGroup and invited resource if applicable.

Our objective:
To celebrate World Migratory Bird Day 2009 and introduce local schoolchildren, MNS Miri members and the public to birds and the fullfilling hobby of birdwatching. Raise awareness about migratory birds and the barriers to migration.

08th May Friday
0700 Arrival of participants to Location I
Meet at the Old Kuala Baram Jetty
Proceed to Pulau Bawai by boat
Observe Waders, Terns, Egrets and Raptors
1000 Departure from Bawai Island

Talk, Slideshow and Excursion
1500 Arrival of participants to Curtin University
Talk and Slideshow 'Waders and Birdwatching' at Curtin Lecture Room
1800 Birding Excursion Location II
Birdwatching Around Curtin Campus
1930 Departure from Curtin University

09th May Saturday
0700 Arrival of Participants to Location III
Meet at just outside of Curtin University gate
Proceed to the Lakes.
Observe Waterbirds
1000 Departure

1500 Arrival of participants to Location IV
Meet at the Old Kuala Baram Jetty
Proceed to Pulau Bawai by boat
Observe Waders, Terns, Egrets and Raptors
1900 Departure from Bawai Island

10th May Sunday
Talk and Slideshow 'Waders and Birdwatching in Miri'
0900 Arrival of students to SK Bekenu, Registration
0930 Talk and Slideshow on Birds and Birdwatching
1100 End of Session, Questions and Answers, Closing

16th May Saturday
Drawing Contests, Talk and Slideshow ‘Waders and Birdwatching in Miri’
1300 Arrival of participants to Pustaka Negeri, Miri Branch, Registration
1330 Start of Drawing Contest theme ‘Avifauna of Sarawak’
1500 End of Drawing Contest
1530 Talk and Slideshow
1630 Question and Answer
1700 Announcement of Contest Winners1730 End of Session

If you are interested to participate in any of these events please contact us at

A parallel session involving excursions, talk and slideshow is also being planned in Similajau National Park with participation from Borneo Bird Club members, MNS members and park staff.

WMBD 2009

This year the central theme of World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is “BARRIERS TO MIGRATION”, highlighting the threat posed by man-made obstacles to birds during their annual migration.

Year by year in autumn and spring majestic flocks of migratory birds depart for their long journeys following the call of nature and the paths of their ancestors. For some, it is a long, exhaustive and often dangerous journey, stretching thousands of kilometers. Along their way migratory birds face a number of natural and man-made obstacles. They have to cope with scarcity of food, shrinking areas as stopover sites, predators, hostile weather, huge mountains and the expansion of the seas and deserts and other natural barriers.

Yet, humans have created additional obstacles to further complicate their journeys. Each year the number of man-made structures such as power lines, wind farms, television and mobile phone transmission masts, glass windows, tall buildings and other structures continues to grow irrespective of the migratory routes and the important sites used by migratory birds.

These man-made structures cause collisions that can result in fatalities. Many birds, especially those which migrate during the night, do not recognize these obstacles and collide with power lines, crash into glass windows or hit the rotating blades of wind turbines. They stay away from their regular stopover-sites when they are covered with wind farms or get off course when attracted by lights from communication masts and towers. Losses resulting from such bird-strikes account for huge numbers of dead and injured birds every year.

This year World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to raise awareness on some of these man-made barriers to migration by encouraging national authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and awareness-raising programs which help draw attention to the many man-made obstacles migratory birds face during their migration.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was launched in 2006 by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the Convention on Migratory Species, two United Nations Environment Programme-backed environmental treaties dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and the world's other migratory avian, terrestrial and marine species.

With this year's theme, the organizers intend to help raise awareness on some of the man-made barriers migratory birds face during migration and provide a global platform for people and dedicated organizations to take action for the conservation of migratory birds.

For more information please visit:

MNS Miri celebrated WMBD 2008 last year, first in Miri and Sarawak and intend to do so again this year. We will have talks, slideshows by invited guests for the general public and schools in Miri and surrounding areas. We'll also organise birdwatching excursions to our favorite birding spots.