Sabah and Rutland

By | Category: Travel destinations

Tabin Hill Lodge

The two might may have much in common you might think but not this weekend. Rutland Water is hosting an event known the world over, the British Birdwatching Fair which attracts both visitors and exhibitors from around the world. It’s easy to think of bird watching as a minority interest but its big business. And this is why Sabah has come all the way from Malaysia to publicise its destination.
Lawrence Chin is the General Manager of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah and he is here for Sabah’s fourth consecutive visit to the fair. Covering 300,000 acres in the eastern part of the state, it not only has species of birds but Borneo pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, orangutans and Sumatran rhinos can be glimpsed as well. Declared a wildlife reserve nearly thirty years ago, (and its origins pre-date that by another 30 as well) Tabin has a limited number of river and hill lodges for people to stay at. Chin has come to Rutland because bird watchers make up a sizable number of visitors. With the Royal Society of Birds (RSPB) having over 1.2 million members, (that’s many more than attend football matches) avid birdwatchers are happy to roam the world in order to tick off another bird that they have on their list. And since Sabah has 622 different types of bird including 32 that cannot be seen anywhere else, it’s no wonder that Sabah is on every birdwatchers “must visit” list.
Partially so many species live on Sabah because of the different geographies that exist there. There are mountains, (with differing types of birds inhabiting only certain areas) rainforests, peat swamps, cultivated rice paddies and beaches. The beaches and offshore islands offer a different range of wildlife to watch such as dugongs and all manner of species of fish that live on the coral reefs. Not forgetting this is an area that is important for turtle nesting sites. There is even a programme to re-bury turtle eggs that are in danger of being washed out to sea at high tides thus increasing the number that will be born and return to the sea.
Although Sepilok to the north of Tabin is regarded internationally for its orangutan population, Tabin is involved as well. The numbers of wild orangutan in the park may be low in comparison with elsewhere, over 200 of them have been translocated here in preparation for them being returned to the wild.
As Chin says, with all the bird species and animals to be found in such a relatively small area is it any wonder that Tabin attracts visitors from around the world. And he hasn’t even touched on the plants and trees to see as well.
The British Birdwatching Fair ends on Sunday

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