Thursday, December 27, 2012

Birdwatching at Piasau Camp (updated)

Image by : Musa Musbah

Date : 5th January 2013
Venue : Piasau Camp ( to meet at Tenby School Carpark)
Time : 0700 - 1100 hrs

Join Musa, Dominique and Erwin for birdwatching this Saturday at Piasau Camp. You may be lucky to catch a glimpse of the resident Oriental Pied Hornbill family.

Date : 19th January 2013
Venue : Piasau Camp
Time : 0700 - 1100 hrs (to be confirmed)

MNS Miri birders Musa and Erwin will be leading a birdwatching awareness session for the school children of Tenby School at Piasau Camp. Volunteers (with some knowledge of bird identification) are most welcomed to help out. Please contact Musa, for further details.

Also, here's wishing you a healthy and fun filled year ahead !

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Year end treks

8th December 2012

Time: 0700 - 1500 hrs (Meet at Taman Awam Carpark at 0645hrs)
Venue: Lambir National Park

Those interested, contact Joyce ( or

15th December 2012 (new)

Night Observation Walk on Latak Trail

Time: 1800 - 2100 hrs (Meet at Lambir National Park carpark at 1800 hrs)
Venue: Lambir National Park

Those interested, contact Peter ( by 11 Dec 2012 to register. RM10 park entry fees apply.

27 - 29th December 2012

Venue:  Mt. Kinabalu National Park, Mesilau Loop Walk

Proposed Itinerary:
27 December : AK6072 Flight from Miri to KK (ETA KK at 1145hrs). Overnight at Ranau
28 December : Mesilau Loop walk and drive to KK. Overnight at Cititel Express, KK.
29 December : AK6071 Flight from KK to Miri (ETA Miri at 1030hrs)

All costs to be shared. There are 3 more spaces available. Reservation is only valid once flights have been secured. Please contact Peter Pillai ( if you're interested by 20 November 2012.

*RM 5.00 will be charged for non MNS members

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fossil Hunt at Tusan Cliffs

Image from MNS Miri archive
Come join us for an educational stroll on the beach against the backdrop of the dramatic cliffs of Tusan. Learn about the area's interesting geology and try your luck hunting for fossil crabs and molluscs. We're pleased to have MNS Miri Chairperson, Musa Musbah a biostatigrapher and Anura Dason, a geologist as our friendly guides for this outing. Details below:

Date: 20 October 2012 , Saturday
Time : 0800 hrs - 1000 hrs. 
            Meet at Tanjung Beach carpark at 0700 hrs.

What to bring : A hat, insect repellant (sand flies), sunscreen, comfortable foot wear e.g. sandals, raincoat. (Optional: Metal spoon, brush to dig fossils)

Here's a map of Tusan if you've no idea where this is.

If interested, please e-mail Musa Musbah at or

Please note non-members will have to pay a nominal registration fee of RM5. This will be waived, should you decide then to sign up as an MNS member.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

UNILEVER's Greenwash with RSPO

Indonesian activists accompanied by ROBIN WOOD, Rettet den Regenwald and Watch Indonesia protest in front of Unilever Central Office in Hamburg. Source: Robin Wood.

Baby food scandals in Africa, tropical forest destruction for candy bars: There are companies like Nestle that attract scandals like light the flies.

On the other hand there are the Teflon-corporations, such as the American Newsweek magazine once called multinational corporations who do basically exactly the same as their competitors, but on which critical allegations do not stick. Unilever is the prototype for this. Unilever is even praised by major international environmental organizations like WWF for its environmental commitment. How can that be, although Unilever is one of the largest palm oil consumers in the world?

First of all, Unilever has contracts with scandal firms like the palm oil multi-national Wilmar. Wilmar has a record of continuing human rights violations and illegal logging and is the world's largest palm oil trader. With the help of police units, Wilmar destroyed the village of Sungai Beruang as well as neighbouring settlements which were located within the palm oil plantation, in order to break the inhabitants' resistance to the palm industry [Robin Wood press release:].

Friends of the Earth have documented serious human rights violations of Wilmar in Uganda [].

Unilever is one of Wilmar's largest customers and is jointly responsible for the crimes and violations of its supplier.

At the same time the palm oil boom has been a disaster for the world's climate. The conversion of rainforest into oil palm plantations has made Indonesia the third largest emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

This does not prevent Unilever CEO Paul Polmann to celebrate himself as protector of the earth's atmosphere at the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Besides this, Unilever is engaged against agro-energy but this doesn't follow altruistic motives. Instead of the threat for the world's food supply it's the cheap access to raw materials that worries consumer food companies such as Unilever.

Unilever's greenwash communication primarily relies on the RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil) certification scheme. Unilever admits that the global palm oil production causes serious problems, but also points out that these can be solved with the help of the RSPO. From the perspective of Robin Wood and its partners in Indonesia, the RSPO is merely a helpful tool for Unilever to greenwash its businesses as usual.

The following five points explain why:
RSPO membership is industry dominated 
581 companies face only 26 NGOs and 11 of the 16 seats at the RSPO board are reserved for banks and palm oil business. The RSPO is chaired by Unilever and not by a neutral party. This means that Unilever has significant control over this certification scheme.

Weak criteria
Because of these structures, the criteria are weak. Palm oil companies that have massive conflicts with local people receive the RSPO label. In addition, RSPO allows forests to be converted for new plantations and tolerates the use of extremely toxic agro chemicals such as Paraquat. No wonder, as the manufacturer of Paraquat (Syngenta) is itself a member of the RSPO.

Dependent certification bodies
The companies that apply for a RSPO certification pay the certification bodies. This direct commercial relationship leads to a race to the bottom: The certification body that overlooks as many errors in favour of its client, receives more lucrative contracts. An example of this is provided by the RSPO accredited certification body TÜV. ROBIN WOOD has reviewed the actions of this certifier in October 2011 in a case study in Sumatra and alarming deficiencies were found [Statement Robin Wood zum TÜV Rheinland at]. Key players at RSPO were informed about the failures of TÜV in Indonesia, but so far without any consequences.

From right-holder to stake-holder
The RSPO turns in his practice local people with land rights (right holder) into people with legitimate interests (stake holder). At the roundtable local people are forced to negotiate with representatives of the mighty palm oil lobby on their rights. This implies, that a fair compromise could be found somewhere in the middle between aggressor and victim. In this scenario local people can only lose. Human rights are not negotiable.

The over-exploitation continues - RSPO promotes the expansion
The most important contribution of a sustainability label for palm oil would be to stop further expansion of the palm oil industry. This is a clear demand of Indonesian environmental and human rights organizations like Cappa, Walhi, Save Our Borneo or Perkumpulan Hijau together with Robin Wood. On the opposite, companies that are members of the RSPO are among the drivers of the expansion for new plantations. Current examples can be found in the Indonesian province of West Papua. RSPO members like Wilmar, Medco or Rajawali started a giant palm oil project at the expense of the local population and the last remaining rainforest. [].

NGOs and the broader public should not be blinded by Unilever's Greenwash strategy. Corporations such as Unilver by making contracts with the global palm oil business are co-responsible for the displacement of people, clear-cut of forests and contamination with toxic pesticides using the RSPO to greenwash these practices.

By Peter Gerhardt,, published by EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade),

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MNS Miri Nature Talk - A day in a life of the Piasau Oriental Pied Hornbill)

Some of you may have noticed daily postings and captivating images on the Save Piasau Oriental Pied Hornbill FB page. These daily posts are the ongoing effort of MNS Miri, namely Musa who has been up at the crack of dawn to observe and record the daily habits of the nesting OPH at Piasau Camp. MNS Miri is honoured once again to collaborate with Pustaka Miri on a public nature awareness programme. All members are most welcomed. Details below:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Save Piasau OPH Group on Facebook

Oriental Pied Hornbill, a male from Piasau Camp attending to a secluded nestling female.

Please come and join our new "Save Piasau OPH" Facebook Group in support of a pair of nesting Oriental Pied Hornbill and their new nestlings at Piasau Camp.

Over many generations, a family of Oriental Pied Hornbill has been making Piasau Camp their home. If you have lived in the area or have spent time driving through the neighbourhood you would have noticed this beautiful hornbills gracefully gliding around the neighbourhood. They would be hanging around the tall casuarinas along the road or foraging nearby hunting for food. At one time they were particularly fond of hanging out at Piasau 100 by the beach.

Our branch Chairman, Musa Musbah and his team have been dilligently recording and observing the Piasau OPH family for several years now. With impending evacuation of Piasau Camp and upcoming redevelopment of the area, our crew have been putting extra efforts in documenting the goings on of  a pair of nesting OPH at an undisclosed location.

Our objective for Save Piasau OPH campaign is first and foremost to highlight the issue of the destruction of habitat and potential displacement of the OPH family from the Piasau area. With that we also hope to raise the awareness level of our community about hornbills in our midst. Believe it or you are more likely to see this emblematic bird of Sarawak elsewhere than in the land of hornbills itself.

From factsheet:

This species has an extremely large range,  with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation. Anthracoceros albirostris is a widespread resident in northern South Asia, southern China, Indochina and western Indonesia. Though the global population size has not been quantified, the species is reported to be the commonest Asian hornbill (del Hoyo et al. 2001).

It was recently noted that this species has been almost completely extirpated from southern China (J. Fellowes in litt. 2010).

In the Thai-Malay Peninsula, the species may be threatened by off-take for the trade in fledglings and outright forest clearance (Wells 1999). There is some evidence that the species has traditionally been captured for the local pet trade, as historically one to two were reportedly kept in every village in at least some areas of Myanmar (Tickell 1864 in Kemp 1995).

The casques of Oriental Pied Hornbills are common souvenirs in the markets of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; however, the extent of this trade has not been measured (Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007).

This species is considered the most adaptable of the hornbills to landscape modification and thus the least threatened owing to its very wide range, small size and broad habitat preferences (S. Mahood in litt. 2012, D. Bakewell in litt. 2012).

The provision of artificial nest space in Singapore has secured the return of the species as a nesting breeder, with 50-60 individuals in 2010 (G. Davison in litt. 2012). Similar small successes have been recorded in Panaga, Brunei (H. Dols, pers comm).

BirdLife International (2012) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from from contributors : Bakewell, D., Davison, G., Duckworth, W., Goes, F., Kemp, A., Mahood, S., Thompson, P.

It has been said that once all the big forests of Sarawak has all been cleared away, OPH will likely remain the only hornbill you'll ever see in Sarawak due to it's adaptability and fairly successful attempts at living amidst humans. We are hoping that this day would never come.

Help us save this nesting family by supporting us at Save Piasau OPH Facebook Group, and along the way learn more about hornbills, the proud emblem for Sarawak.

To find out how you can help this campaign, please email us : MNS Miri Branch "Save Piasau OPH".

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hi everyone,

We plan to watch the Waders on 25th August, 2012.

Place : Andreson Bicycle Bridge, just after the old Lutong Airport.

Time: 7:00 am-8:30am

Come and join us.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sighting of Syawal's New Moon

Join Musa to sight the new moon of Syawal, which determines the date for Hari Raya Puasa.

Date: 18 August 2012
Time : 5.30 pm
Venue : Tanjung Lobang

For more information and those intrerested, please contact Musa (

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nature Walk at Niah National Park

MNS Miri file image
For those of you in Miri during the Raya holidays, do join Peter for a visit to Niah National Park.

Date: 21st August (Tuesday)
Time: 0700 hrs at Taman Awam. (breakfast at Niah Junction, coastal road). Anticipated to be back in Miri by 1700hrs.
The walk will cover the plank walk, Niah Museum and inside the Niah Great Caves. Painted cave is currently not accessible. Bring a spare change of clothes, some cash to buy souvenirs/drinks and RM10 entrance fees. Car pooling options still available on first come, first serve basis.

Those interested, please contact Peter Pillai at Volunti non fir injuria applies.


Merdeka Weekend Trek - Similajau National Park
- We can only accomodate 1 - 2 more.
- Contact person: Joyce (

Bakam Giam - Clean Up
Date : 8 September 2012
Time : 0700hrs (meeting point at Miri - to be advised) - 1730 hrs (estimated to be back in Miri)
Venue : Bakam
Contact person : Dr. John Yeo (

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Maaf Zahir dan Batin to our Muslim members.

Please note for all trips above, non-members will have to pay a nominal registration fee of RM5. This will be waived, should you decide then to sign up as an MNS member.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hey Ho Hey Ho its off to Trek we Go !

A head's up on what's in store in August and early September:

Fungi 101

Image by: Peter Pillai
Date : 4 August 2012
Time : 0800 - 1300 hrs
Venue : Lambir National Park, Miri

An easy trek in Lambir National Park while learning about fungi. We're inviting a research student, who is currently studying fungis (of course...) to join us. So if you've always wondered about these weird unassuming organisms on our forest floor tree bark etc, do sign up for this trek. For those interested, please e-mail Joyce at or

Merdeka Weekend Trek
Image by:Joyce Sivalingam
Date : 30 August - 1 September 2012
Venue : Similajau National Park, Bintulu

A long leisurely trek to Turtle Beach 1 or 2 depending on consensus/fitness of the group.

Tentative itinerary:
30 August, Thursday : Leave Miri by 5 pm and arrive Similajau National Park before 9 pm.
31 August, Friday : Trek to Turtle Beach 1 or 2
1 September, Saturday : Drive to Bintulu for a visit (optional) or return to Miri.

We will be spending 2 nights at Similajau National Park. A gentle reminder for the uniniated
that all MNS Miri trips are on your own account and those who volunteer to drive, get brownie points. We'll work out car pooling arrangements based on who's turning up.
For those interested, please e-mail Joyce at or Reservation for accomodation is necessary so do sign up early.


Bakam Giam - Let's Clean Up !

Date : 8 September 2012
Time : 0700hrs (meeting point at Miri - to be advised) - 1730 hrs (estimated to be back in Miri)
Venue : Bakam

We're hooking up with Kg. Bakam Youth Committee to co-organize a trip cum clean up at Giam Bakam. The trail to the waterfall is best attempted with a 4WD (hint: volunteer drivers are most welcomed). In terms of difficulty, you should expect a 6 for this activity on a scale of 1 (walk in the park) to 10 (need MC next day to recover). No sweat... you have more than a month to shape up so no excuses. For those interested, please e-mail Dr. John Yeo at or
Trivia : Did you know, 'Giam' is waterfall in Bidayuh ?

Please note for all trips above, non-members will have to pay a nominal registration fee of RM5. This will be waived or reimbursed, should you decide to sign up as an MNS member.

Monday, July 9, 2012

MNS Miri Branch Committee 2012/2013

MNS Miri Branch AGM was successfully held on 7 July 2012 at Lambir National Park. A big THANK YOU to members who attended the AGM for your continuous support. With that, the term for 2011/2012 has come to a close and a new branch committee was elected for 2012/2013.

With your support and participation, we look forward to sustain MNS's presence in Miri.  
Do feel free to mail us at for any suggestions or feedback. We certainly hope to hear from you. 

Special thanks to the Branch Committee of 2011/2012.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reefcheck Eco Diver's Course


MNS Miri Branch Reefcheck focus group organized an Eco-Diving Course last May. Reefcheck has been an ongoing effort of Miri Branch funded by the Shell Malaysia Sustainable Development Grant.

Julian and Nattelee from Reef Check Malaysia joined MNS members, Amer and Shirley in Miri to run the Eco-diving course. EcoDivers-to-be were Joyce, Munirah, John, Lee, Guan Jye and myself; Miriam. Amer and Shirley completed the EcoDiver Instructor course. The course involved 3 classroom sessions and 4 test dives.

The course topics covered over the 3 sessions were:
(1) The importance of conducting reef checks/ Threats to the underwater ecosystem
(2) Fish Identification
(3) Invertebrate Identification
(4) Substrate Identification
(5) Impact Survey
(6) Reef Check Methodology

The dives were done in the mornings and the classroom sessions were from afternoon till about 5:30 pm. On the 11th May 2012 however it was just a classroom session from 6:30pm till 9:00pm.

12th May: 1st and 2nd Dive: Anemone North  & Siwa
Fine weather but the water was a tad bit choppy. The group of eco-divers-to be were divided into 2 groups of 3 each. Shirley and Julian went down with Joyce, Lee and myself. Amer and Nattelee went down with Munirah, John and Guan Jey. Once in the water, Shirley and Amer took turns to test us on identifying the several fish that were perched or swimming about. Visibility was 10 to 15 meters. Angel fish would appear on and off and convince us that they were butterfly - such posers. The occasional not-so-solitary grouper would have us think twice before identifying it despite its pectoral fins and spotted- matted complexion. Inconspicuous fish remained inconspicuous due to their small size and schoolish behavior. Sweetlips, we saw three and then we knew they could not be mistaken for another. Snappers were the tricky ones for most of us. A lot of wanna-be snappers in Miri waters, which we need to be wary of while doing the reef check.

13th May: 3rd and 4th Dive: Siwa
After heavy showers in the early hours of the morning we dared the Seahawk to take us to Siwa. The water was choppier than the day before but Billy; the boatman did the best he could given the circumstances and had us at the site in an hour or so. Despite the chaos on the surface, once we dove all that changed. We were still in the same groups; however Nattelee and Julian switched places. The visibility was slightly better than the day before and we were tested on substrates this time. Most of the time we had to waft the coral to check if it was hard or soft and then sometimes tap the surface twice to check if it was silt or sand. We saw a fair variety of sponge, soft and hard coral, silt, sand, rock, Nutrient Indicator Algae (NIA) and unfortunately Recently Killed Coral (RKC). On the whole, rubble was hard to find. A Moray Eel poked its ugly head out while we were being tested on the coral above it. The last session ended with Julian showing us how to lay the line, drop the plum line and also how to pace ourselves while doing the survey. Although the demonstration was on land it gave us a fair view of what is required when we actually conduct the reef check. All 6 of us are currently a reef check dive away from being eco-divers. All in all, the course was educational and fun. We certainly look forward to continue MNS Miri’s Reefcheck surveys soon! 

Reported by: Miriam Chacko

Sunday, May 27, 2012

MNS Miri Branch Annual General Meeting 2012

It is the time of year again to exercise your right to elect your branch committee. Please do block this date in your diaries. 
MNS Miri Branch Annual General Meeting 2012 
DATE     : 7th July 2012 (Saturday)
TIME      : 2.00 – 4.00 pm (tea will be served)
VENUE  : Lambir National Park
-          AGM ( 2 – 4 pm)
-          Night walk at Lambir National Park (6 – 8 pm)
Branch committee members are important for the success of the branch. In the past, many of the activities organized by MNS Miri have been driven by passionate and energetic individuals who are personally interested on a particular field. Thanks to these individuals, we’ve enjoyed a variety of activities such as birding, trekking, Reefcheck, conducting firefly surveys and promoting nature awareness through outreach programs with local schools. It is important that we build upon or expand the good work done over the years and sustain MNS Miri’s presence in Miri. It is up to us to make this happen.
The following are positions up for elections:
Branch Chairperson
1.      Responsible to Council and undertakes responsibilities determined by Council and branch members
2.      Responsible for Branch supervision and operations
3.      Upholds and represents MNS Society at the branch level
4.      Leads the Branch committee in developing annual strategy and programmes
5.      Chairs the Branch committee meetings and the Branch AGM

Branch Vice Chairperson
1.       Upholds and represents MNS at the branch level in the absence of Branch Chairperson
2.       Assists in developing annual strategy and programmes
3.       Leads the Branch and its committee in its activities / operations, as deemed necessary, in the absence of the Branch Chair

Branch Honorary Secretary
1.       Responsible for all Branch records and correspondence
2.       Custodian of MNS Rules and Regulations and other official branch documents
3.       Submits annual returns to MNS Secretariat
4.       Records and reads minutes of branch meetings and Branch AGM

Branch Honorary Treasurer
1.      Responsible for development and execution of financial policies, procedures, audits and controls at branch level
2.       Receives and disburses funds in payment of all obligations
3.       Develops and recommends annual budget to Branch committee

Ordinary Committee Members
(At least one and not more than 6 members can be elected.)
1.      Specific role to assist Branch committee including areas of membership, public relations, succession planning, developing conservation and environmental education programmes and initiation of new project initiatives

Only valid members with paid-up memberships up to 31st July 2012 are eligible to attend, stand for election and vote at the AGM.
Please respond to by 25th June 2012 on the following:
  • Your attendance for AGM
  • Are you planning to join the night walk?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bukit Pantu Trek

We're heading to Lambir National Park before the holidays. 

Date: 26 May 2012
Time: 0700 hrs (at Taman Awam) - 1300 hrs

You'll need, proper shoes, small face towel, water & insect repellant.  

For queries and to register please e-mail

p.s: Gayu Guru, Gerai Nyamai to all MNS Miri members who celebrate Hari Gawai !

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Let's Cycle

Some of us at MNS are planning to take our cycles out for a spin and we would love for you to join us. Below are a few details of the event:

Date: Saturday, 19th May 2012
Route: Road side (just before the ASEAN bridge)-Kuala Baram Sungai Tujuh road-jetty and back
Distance: 24 km approx.
Start time: 7.00 am The must haves: a cycle (of course:)) and a helmet.

So slap on some sunscreen and be at the car park at 6:50 am on the 19th of May. For queries and to register, please contact

Friday, April 13, 2012

Earth Hour 2012 - Miri Style

On 31st March, a group of MNS Miri Branch Members joined the rest of the world to commemorate Earth Hour 2012 by a symbolic act of spending that hour (or night, in our case) with little or no dependence on electricity. What began as a simple idea of ‘Bonfire anyone ?” rapidly snowballed to an overnight stay what with the encouraging response from the camping enthusiasts of the likes of Nazeri, Musa, Sara, Adeline and her adventurous group.

At 5.30pm, our group began the 20 minute walk towards the beach from the meeting point in front of SY Shrimp Farm, Kuala Baram. We followed an indistinctive path, causing some raised eyebrows from locals who probably didn’t expect to see a party of 17, weaving their way through overgrown weeds laden with camping gear, fishing rods, sleeping bags and food for the night (which included 2 buckets of Colonel Sanders’ finest, courtesy of Anura). After a final balancing act on raised narrow adjoining planks across the water logged ground, we reached the beach and continued our way on the beach to the desired site amidst the setting sun.

With dusk fast approaching, the campers staked their respective spots and before long there were 6 sturdy tents, 2 makeshift shelters and 2 crackling bonfires gracing our campsite.Once the ‘hard labour’ was out of the way, we wasted no time devouring food brought for the night around the the bonfire. The night was well spent with some star gazing, an MNS Miri Branch committee meeting (thanks Miriam and company, for making your way to join us) and a sighting of a dried turtle carcass on the beach. Shortly after the official Earth Hour ended, those returning to Miri made their way back leaving the campers to the solitude of the night accompanied by the prolific flames of the bonfire.

I would venture to say the night was near perfect for camping except for the exodus of blood thirsty mosquitoes that mobilized their army from neighboring Brunei upon realizing there was a feast that night. They proved to be insatiable, effortlessly penetrating any form of defense mounted against them. Mosquitoes aside, we spent the night under a canopy of a clear night sky studded with stars anticipating the occasional breeze for a much needed respite.

At half past 5 the next day, a light shower sent those sleeping out in the open (Nazeri, Amer and me), scurrying for the makeshift tents. Just when Amer and I, were beginning to feel all smug that our hastily constructed shelter was still standing, a gust of wind transformed our shelter to a sail (a darn good one if I may say so) and we soon realized it is time to abandon ship. We gate-crashed Nazeri’s spacious makeshift tent (which was holding up really well) and waited out the rain while those keeping warm and dry in their tents were oblivious to this pre-dawn saga of musical tents. Little did we realise, that it was just a prelude to what was yet to come.

While lounging around the dying embers of the bonfire comparing mosquito bite marks over breakfast, a wall of dark looming clouds crept behind us and instinctively we made a dash to break camp and (hopefully) escape the torrential rain. We trudged out from the campsite in the heavy downpour and by the time we re-grouped at the roadside, the skies were bright and blue once more. Though the weather brought an abrupt end to our activity, we said our goodbyes while laughing about our experience and began scheming outrageous plans to mount a counter attack on the Kuala Baram mosquitoes next time around. Despite being bitten twice over and getting drenched, I am glad to hear that there will be a ‘next time’.
Words by: Joyce Sivalingam
Images by: Peter Pillai

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Night Walk - Lambir National Park

We're heading to Lambir National Park this Saturday for a Night Walk. Join us as we could use some extra pair of eyes to help spot some nocturnal critters. Details below:

Date : 14 April 2012
Time : 6.15 pm - 9.30 pm
Venue: Lambir National Park

Please contact Peter at if you're interested.

For a sneak peak on the night cast of Lambir, have a look at March 2011 blogpost:

The normal park fee applies
Do bring a torchlight.

Image by Nazeri Abghani (Mar 2011)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trek - Lambir National Park

Please take note the Bukit Kasut hike is postponed. Instead, there will be a trek at Lambir National Park this Saturday morning, 31 March 2012. Those interested, please e-mail Peter ( As usual, meeting point is Taman Awam at 0700 hrs.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

At 8.30pm on Saturday 31 March 2012, hundreds of millions of people across the globe will switch off the lights of homes and businesses for one hour – Earth Hour, the world’s largest public environmental action – acknowledging a commitment to go beyond the hour with actions that benefit the planet in the year ahead.

To be a part of Earth Hour 2012, you're invited to :

1. Switch off all essential lights for 1 hour at 8.30 pm - 9.30 pm on 31 March 2012.
2. Go beyond the hour - take this opportunity to reflect on ways you and your family could reduce your carbon footprint and make a commitment to ongoing change that reduces your impact to the environment.

Some of us will be switching off our lights and heading out to Kuala Baram for a bonfire on the beach (weather permitting). Those who are interested to participate in Earth Hour with us, please see details below:

Date : 31 March 2012
Time : 8.30 pm - 9.30 pm (but we're likely to be there by 7-ish)
Venue : Kuala Baram (near the SY Shrimp Farm)

Do come prepared with insect repellant and needless to say, snacks, finger food or any edibles would be appreciated.

Should you have any queries, drop us a mail at

Happy Earth Hour.

General direction to SY Shrimp Farm.

A map of our bonfire site, there'll be a short 20min walk along kampong paths to the beach.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

World Migratory Bird Day 2012

Bonn, 14 March 2012 - Each year on the second weekend in May, dedicated people and organizations plan World Migratory Bird Day events to celebrate migrating birds in their region and to raise awareness about the need for their protection. Since World Migratory Bird Day began in 2006, events have been carried out in 104 countries and we hope this year even more people and countries will join the global celebration.

On their epic journeys spanning thousands of kilometres, migratory birds connect continents, cultures and people along their migration routes. World Migratory Bird Day 2012 and this year’s theme Migratory birds and people - together through time highlight the vital relationship between birds and people.

Considering the cultural, social, historic, economic and spiritual connections we have with birds, it becomes clear that migratory birds and people are inseparably connected in many different ways and on many different levels. At the same time, many human activities including excessive land use and unsustainable hunting, as well as the impacts of climate change, fishing by-catch and pollution gravely threaten migratory bird populations around the world.

This year’s poster portrays the 2012 World Migratory Bird Day theme Migratory birds and people – together through time, highlighting the many connections and historic links between migratory birds and people in a truly global way. Humanity’s fascination with migratory birds is evident in the symbolism throughout history in many ancient cultural legends.

For example, in Egypt the ancient falcon-headed god Horus and in Peru the Nazca line monuments are testaments to migratory birds’ strong influences on past cultures. Also, many groups and cultures continue to rely economically on migratory birds for their livelihoods, for example through subsistence and the growing global ecotourism and birdwatching industry.

The phenomenon of bird migration is crucial to the web of life, as migrating birds act as indicators of biodiversity, ecosystem health and climate change. Migratory birds also provide essential ecological benefits and services, such as pollination, to the ecosystems we rely on to survive.

We are pleased to offer this year’s poster in English, French, Spanish and German and free poster packages can be ordered by organizers to support and help promote their events.

You can register your events and order free posters on the new 2012 World Migratory Bird Day Website at:

Further Information:

World Migratory Bird Day was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. World Migratory Bird Day is organized by the Secretariats of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – and a growing number of partners.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us:
Mr. Sean Wright
UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Tel: +49 (0)228 815 2480
Fax: +49 (0)228 815 2449

MNS Miri Branch has proudly been celebrating WMBD in Miri for the past 4 years, we would love to celebrate it with you again this year! Join us for a birdwatching trip around your neighbourhood and learn more about birds in your own backyard. Please contact MNS Miri Branch for details of local events in Miri.

Children in Kampung Kuala Nyalau, Bintulu getting an introduction to waterbirds and birds in general.

Pustaka Miri has graciously hosted MNS Miri and our WMBD programs since our first inaugural celebration back in 2007.

Doing the Bungai horizontal with youngsters at one of our birdwatching event.

Monday, February 27, 2012

March Updates

Firstly, MNS Miri extends a BIG THANK YOU to the following members for sacrificing some precious weekend sleep-ins to volunteer for the Asian Waterbird Census 2012 - Miri. We really appreciate it. They are (in no particular order)...

John Yeo, Elizabeth Yeo, Musa Musbah, Sara Wong, Nazeri Abghani, Kwan TC, Ali Nazeri, Aisya Nazeri, Nicholas, Erwin Adams, Jacqueline Bradley, Liefer, Grace Len, Sim Yuh Thin, Edward Ong, Remli Adenan, Faye Osman, Peter Pillai,Amer Matridi and Joyce Sivalingam.

For reports and photos of AWC 2012 Miri :

And now on to dates to pen down in your calendars.

March 3 - Nature Talk at Auditorium Pustaka Miri (0930 - 1130)
The nature talk will feature our Chairperson, Peter Pillai who will be sharing his passion for trekking and SFC Park Ranger Sunni bin Mali who will be speaking on the Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary.

March 10 - Raptor Watch 2012, Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson
For more information :

March 17 - Trek to Bukit Pantu, Lambir National Park*

March 31 - Trek to Bukit Kasut , Niah National Park*

*Those interested for the treks, please drop us a mail at or for further details.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birding at Loagan Bunut

As part of the Asian Waterbird Census 2012, we're organizing a trip to Loagan Bunut National Park.

Date : 4 - 5 February 2012
Time : Depart Miri mid morning on 4th Feb and back in Miri on 5th Feb in the evening.
Accomodation : Loagan Bunut National Park (dorm style)

Those interested or if you need more info, please contact Joyce ( or ) by 31 January 2012. Seats are subject to availability of volunteer drivers (4WD required). Needless to say, volunteer drivers are most welcomed.

Please note that all expenses will be on personal account. Common expenses such as food and boat rental will be split. Passengers are also expected to split fuel costs for the return trip from Miri to Loagan Bunut.

About Loagan Bunut:

Loagan Bunut, which centers around Sarawak’s largest natural lake, is one of the most unusual aquatic ecosystems in Malaysia. The lake normally covers an area of approximately 65 hectares. However when the water level in the adjacent Tinjar river is low, the shallow lake can drain completely, leaving a huge expanse of dried and cracked mud.

This unique cycle of flood and drought has created a remarkable food chain which supports a large variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals. As the lake dries up, many aquatic creatures escape into the Bunut river, which connects the lake to the Tinjar and Baram river. Nevertheless many remain behind and huge flocks of wading birds, primarily egrets, gorge themselves on the fish, frogs and shrimps that are trapped in shallow pools. When the lake is completely dry, grasses and herbs sprout from the mud, and are eaten by the larvae of insects that have laid their eggs in the mud. When the rains start again and the lake begins to fill up, returning fish feed on the larvae, breed in the lake, and the whole cycle begins again.

Source :

About Asian Waterbird Census 2012 in Miri: