The largest tropical bird watching park in the country, located at the Batu Gajah wetlands area, is now facing intrusion and disturbance from commercial activities. More than 2000 resident birds are decreasing!
Lee Ping Kong, the Vice President of MNS Perak, told Nanyang that members have discovered that the Kinta Nature Park fenced up around 3 weeks ago. The unknown intention is causing concern.
He says, a year ago, the members of the society discovered that the adjacent pools have been fenced up to rear ducks. Two months ago, sand mining started occurring within the park. It is uncertain that these activities are legal or not. The society hopes that the authorities will do something to stop illegal activities in order to avoid disturbing bird roosting activities.
He says, 3 weeks ago, unknown parties have released fishing nets into the main 100 acre lake. In the last 2 weeks so far, guardmen of the park has not taken any action. The most concerning matter is that a nearby ex-mining pool, filled with fishes previously, has been drained.
Lee along with the Bird Group Secretary of the society Ng, brought the reporter to the site and discovered that the water has darken with dead fish floating. The air is filled with strong scent of rot. This is could have been caused by sand mining and net fishing activities nearby. As seen on site, an excavator was mining sand near the park while a truck was transporting the sand out of the area.
Lee says, sand mining near the park has carried out since 2000. One of the sandhill was now reduced to a small pile only large enough to hold a lamp post. The nearby sandy areas are now barred due to the sand mining activities.
He says, the society has no objection to traditional agricultural activities but this should not intrude into the park’s boundary. Fenced up ponds and deforestation has shrunk and destroyed the natural ecosystem.
He says, statistics taken this March by the society shows that the number of birds has decreased by 40% compared to the same period last year, leaving only about 1200 birds. The statistics also shows the park is permanent home to 5 species of waterbirds and 37 other species. It is also the resting points for 45 species of migrants from foreign countries. This is the only 24 hour birdwatching site in the whole nation. Besides that, the park also host 80 species of flora and fauna recorded, including the endangered Vanda Hookeriana.
MNS Perak branch hope that the state government will act immediately. In the past, ex-chief minister Datuk Seri Tajol’s has promised to gazette the 900 hectares of Kinta Nature Park as the Kinta Royal Birdwatching Wetland Park.
Lee says, in early October of 2000, the society had accompanied Tajol and a few ADUNs to inspect the area. Since then, the Perak government has spent RM 625,000 to build basic facilities and infrastructure. It also promised to gazette the park, but until today, it is only listed as the Perak Perhilitan Protection Area and managed by the Kinta Utara district office. The authorities had set up sign boards, main gate, a hall, an observation tower, 2 resting huts and public toilets. These are however currently poorly maintained.
He says, the society has proposed to the state government on year 2000 to gazette the 900 hectares of land within the Kinta river. It covers more than 10 ponds and wetlands. As a specialized bird watching site, it should be protected in 3 different stages.
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