Penang Bird Park – a living sanctuary that houses and protects more than 300 species of birds
When it opened in 1988, the Penang Bird Park was the first man-made bird sanctuary of its kind in Malaysia. Comfortably nestled in a sheltered corner in urban Seberang Jaya, it features some 3,000 birds, consisting of more than 300 local and foreign species.
Most of the birds, including rare ones like the hornbill, pheasant and sunbird that are prized by the park, are tame and very used to human presence. They live among within the 5-acre haven that has two walk-in aviaries, two geodesic domes and a number of cages.
Visitors can get close to fascinating local birds like the flycatcher, minivet, kingfisher, fairy bluebird, partridge and tiny flowerpecker, as well as lovely flightless fowls like pheasants and peacocks. There are also free-roaming pelicans, flamingos, swans, egrets, storks, herons and mandarin ducks, together with a number of ostriches that one can get the chance to be near to.
Interestingly, the Penang Bird Park has successfully conducted breeding of several bird species, especially those that are close to extinction or are nearly becoming endangered, in an effort to help preserve and protect them. Conservation efforts have been undertaken for species like the Nicobar Pigeon, the peacock pheasants, the fireback pheasants, partridges, owls, hornbills and eagles.
In line with the vibrant setting built and maintained for the birds, the park is designed in such a way that it exudes a natural ambience that is conducive not only for the birds that live there but also for visitors to appreciate wildlife in an earthen environment. Bridges and traditional gazebos are placed to be in harmony with the overall atmosphere.
The park is thoughtfully landscaped with diverse species of plants – such as hibiscus, orchids, cacti, bamboo and palm trees – that have a symbiotic relationships with birds and other wildlife. They are all complemented by the presence of leaf monkeys and other animals – the mousedeer, green iguana, monitor lizard, python, soft-shelled turtle and the fresh arapaima giga from the Amazon River.
The Penang Bird Park also has a children’s playground, a souvenir shop, a pet shop and a restaurant called Flamingo Cottage which serves Malaysian and western cuisines.
Written by Himanshu Bhatt
Photographed by Adrian Cheah
© All rights reserved
16 November 2016
First published at butterworthguide.com.my