THF Conservation Grant
Spanning an area of around 500 hectares, in the northern region of Seberang Perai, lies one of the few remaining intact wetlands in Penang. The Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda (TAT-KM) Coast is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) and part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Its mangroves and mudflats annually attract shorebirds migrating from Siberia to Australia, providing a vital stopover along this epic journey—scientists and nature lovers having recorded flocks of 10,000 to 12,000 at a single site during the peak of migration.
This location, however, is also targeted for jetty construction and conversion to aquaculture farms, activities that may severely compromise the health of the mangroves and mudflats and the vital roles they play in enhancing fisheries, protecting coasts and sequestering carbon.
The Shorebirds Project of Peninsular Malaysia led by Dr Nur Munira will use its Conservation Grant to continue monitoring and documenting the abundance and diversity of birds visiting the TAT-KM Coast. This data will communicate this to shorebird researchers worldwide. Using an integrated approach combining research, community engagement, and education and outreach to engage with key agencies and stakeholders in support of the protection of the remaining mangroves of the coastline and socialize the potential value of this area for nature tourism with benefits to local livelihoods.
Taking inspiration from Hong Kong’s Mai Po Nature Reserve, a model of successful wetland conservation, this project will bring new perspectives to managing the TAT-KM Coast. It is hoped that this will contribute to important decisions to protect these important ecosystems and safeguard fisheries resources.
Watch her video here: