Brunei holds its first bird race

National 2 minutes, 51 seconds


THE first Brunei Darussalam bird race officially took place yesterday at Taman Peranginan Tasek Lama, Bandar Seri Begawan.

Twenty-five participants from Bird clubs, Nature clubs, individuals from the government sector, corporate sector, expatriate teachers and students gathered early in the morning to snap pictures and identify birds in the park.

Present to officiate the ceremony was Acting Director of Tourism Development Department Mariani Hj Sabtu, who said that the race was an opportunity for local enthusiasts to participate because they are unable to take part in the upcoming International Borneo Bird Race. The International Borneo Bird Race, scheduled to be held in Temburong from Sept 24 to 27, will only be open to foreigners.

“It would be unfair for the foreign participants if the locals participate in the International Borneo Bird Race, because they know the area. That’s why we created this avenue where locals are given the opportunity to participate.”

The event will also, hopefully, help create awareness not just among the local birding community and enthusiasts but more importantly among all layers of the society.

“It is a multibillion dollar business and there are millions of people interested, especially because of the global awareness about wildlife protection.

“So with this, we would also like to create an interest in bird watching,” said Mariani.

“At the same time, this would also create avenues for us to help train potential tour guides for bird watching, because at the moment, we are lacking in that kind of capacity,” she added

An exhibition was also held to showcase pictures taken of different bird species by five photographers.

One of the photographers, Hj Abd Rajak Pehin Orang Kaya Laksamana Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Taha, said that they took pictures of 60 bird species. “We spent three months last year from July until September during the weekends to take pictures. The most important thing is to be patient, to know the sounds of the birds as well as the size and shape.”

Hj Abd Rajak said that they took pictures of four endemic (local) birds, such as the Brown Barbet, Orange-Bellied Flowerpecker, Yel-low-Rumped Flowerpecker and the Dusky Munia.

The pictures showcased will be made into a book and given to school children.

“I think it is important to start from a young age. We purposely didn’t put any names so that the children will be curious to find out and learn at the same time.”

Results of the race and the prize presentation ceremony will be held on October 2 at the Rizqun International Hotel.

The first, second and third place winners will receive $600, $400 and $300 respectively. The first three winners will also receive other prizes. Five consolation prizes of $100 will also be given.

The First International Borneo Bird Race, jointly organised by Brunei Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Board, Sabah Tourism Board and Tourism Malaysia, took place last year from September 24 to October 3. Eight teams (consisting of 27 participants) from eight countries took part in the race.

The Second International Borneo Bird Race will be held from September 24 to October 4 this year. The competition will take place at three different locations – Brunei Darussalam, Sabah and Sarawak. Themed “Birding into the Heart of Borneo”, this year’s race will see nine teams (27 participants) from seven countries taking part.

The first leg of the race will start from September 24-27, before moving onto Sarawak on Septem-ber 28-29, and will conclude in Brunei Darussalam from October 1-2.

The Brunei Times