Text by: Nick Tan
Photo by: Nick Tan and Risnayati Lammu
If you have been to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB), it seems like a small, boring rundown town in Hulu Selangor District, Selangor, but little is known that this historical town on top of the hill is surrounded by tropical rainforest and rich with fauna and flora.
Once every year during the month of April, the town comes alive when birders from all over the country and world congregate for the Selangor bird race. “Wings of KKB” is a great opportunity for birders to come together to enjoy nature and expand their knowledge of the different species of birds and their habitats.
The area is part of the Important Bird Area and has rare birds such as the Marbled Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Large Niltava, Silver-Breasted Broadbills and three hornbills namely Rhinoceros, Great and Bushy Crested.
We were invited twice to open up an exhibition at the event but were not able to make it. So this year we decided to attend and spread the words on sun bears in peninsular Malaysia. On 24th April, we took the first flight in the morning to KLIA 2 airport. Upon arrival, people from Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor (MDHS) were already waiting to pick us up at the airport. They are the ones responsible for media coordination, logistics on the bird race.
On 25th April morning, there were many people, especially young school kids at the MHDS hall registering for the races. Seeing the crowd, we immediately unloaded our exhibition stuff to set up the booth before the participants set out for birdwatching. There many other exhibition booths by several NGOs, governmental organisation, birdwatching equipment sellers and not to be missed, food stalls. Throughout the day, many people came and asked about the sun bears in our centre. Most of them did not know about our centre but were very interested in what we are doing.
The bird race was organised by MDHS in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2015 and supported by Tourism Malaysia, hoping to cultivate the appreciation of nature, especially among schoolchildren. Participants will go through 10 different checkpoints starting from the charming town of Kuala Kubu Baru, past the Kalumpung Hot Springs and ending at the Genting Highlands Awana Resort, which is the last checkpoint for the race. On the night of 25th April, the gala dinner was held for all the participants and we were invited to join as well.
Most participants also spent the night at Awana Resort after the dinner. We were grateful that MHDS offered us to stay at the resort too!
The next day after the dinner, there were a few other activities for school kids and the last hours for birders to finish their logbooks and bird photography before the closing ceremony. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay longer until the closing ceremony as we had to leave early for our 5pm flight.
Thanks to MHDS for inviting us and BSBCC for the opportunity of attending Wings of KKB 2015 Selangor Bird Race.