Posted by: ulumuda | October 21, 2008

Forests’ new attraction(The Star-18 August 08)

By SIRA HABIBU

THE discovery of the rare and elusive plain-pouched hornbill in the Ulu Muda forests in Kedah has made the forests even more attractive to bird watchers from around the globe.

Evidence has surfaced that the forest reserve is also a roosting site for the globally threatened species.

Malaysia Nature Society Kedah branch chairman Phang Fatt Khow said: “This is following the finding of a young four-month-old plain-pouched hornbill in Kampung Belantek about two weeks ago.

“A villager found the young bird that was probably displaced because of logging activities in the area.

“The bird is now under the care of the Wildlife Depart- ment,’’ he said at the sidelines of the Save Ulu Muda Forests public forum at Alor Star recently.

Rare bird:The plain-pouched hornbill found at Kampung Belantek.

MNS head of communications Andrew Sebastian said a DNA test was being carried out to positively identify the species that is scientifically known as Aceros subruficolis.

He said the latest findings have made Ulu Muda forests even more prominent on the global map of Important Bird Areas (IBA).

The species has also been spotted in South Myanmar, west and southwest Thailand and in the Belum-Temenggor forests.

“The status of the bird is uncertain in Myanmar where sightings of flocks have not been reported lately.

“The main threat to the species is deforestation activities in lowlands,’’ he said.

Andrew said birdwatching activities could rake in millions of tourism dollars, as avid bird watchers were willing to travel far and wide across to have a glimpse of rare colourful birds.

Other globally threatened birds that can be found in Ulu Muda are the masked finfoot and blue-banded kingfisher.

“Therefore Ulu Muda should be gazetted as a totally protected area.

“Logging activities and plans to log in the future should cease.

“We should protect what we have today before we lose them forever,’’ he said.

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