Report by Lim Kim Chye
Images by Lim Kim Chye, Cheang Kum Seng & Khoo Siew Yoon
The trip to Kinta Nature Park on Sunday 18 July was very well received, with some 43 people turning up. The good response was due to the event being publicized in Ipoh Echo, the STAR and a local Chinese daily. Yian and I had to field many enquiries from Cantonese-speaking callers and struggled to explain how to get to the site!
The walkabout around the Visitor Centre was an eye-opener for the participants, several of whom were locals but were until now unaware of the existence of KNP. It was a revelation for them to see how ex-mining lands, left barren after the collapse of the tin-mining industry in the 1980s, had recovered to become scenic green lungs full of all kinds of life forms.
The heronry was a hive of activity with herons and egrets flying back and forth as they tended to their hungry nestlings. A pair of Black-winged Stilts with two downy chicks delighted us as they foraged elegantly in a shallow wetland. The overcast weather that morning provided ideal lighting conditions as we queued to photograph exquisite lotus blooms against the backdrop of the Titiwangsa mountains in the distance.
Not all was well and good with KNP, however, as we saw signs that sand-mining was still rampant. A back-hoe was covertly hidden from prying eyes behind a sand bank, while here and there could be seen deep scrapes in the ground. Later, as a few of us braved the rough terrain to check out Zone 2, we passed by two large-scale duck farms that had taken over what were formerly pristine lakes. Such a pity to see precious water resources being polluted! We had to abort our plan to drive into the remote Zone 3 when we found that the bridge over Sg. Teja had not been repaired.
On the return trip, as luck would have it, the convoy inadvertently found itself on the way to the Vanda hookeriana site, so we made use of the opportunity to admire and photograph the lovely blooms before rain drove us back to the vehicles. It was a fitting end to a successful trip which also saw us recording a respectable 41 species of birds and a family of 6 Smooth Otters with 2 young at Tasik Pucung.
While writing this report, I learnt about the operation carried out at KNP the following day by Kampar District Office to stamp out unauthorized activities. This is wonderful news……the kind of action we have been waiting for!
The presence of certain key government agencies at the site shows that, finally, KNP has been accepted by the government. Chairman of the State Exco for Tourism, Dato Hamidah Osman, who led the operation, was quoted as saying that Kg. Pisang community will be invited to participate in the project. This is a progressive idea as success of KNP depends very much on support from the local residents. MNS Perak looks forward to the day when KNP is finally gazetted and we can rightly say we have overcome!
Update July 24, 2010
Ipoh Echo has ran a report on enforcement report conducted and MNS Perak Chairman response. Read it by clicking this.