Media Resouces
First ever bird race in Panti Bird Sanctuary, Negeri Johor draws over 140 birders from Malaysia and Singapore
14 Jun 2024
  • Jointly organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Johor State Forestry Department (Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Johor) and Tourism Johor, the first ever Panti Bird Race Johor is supported by the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation and Mapletree Investments, together with Canon Malaysia and Farm Fresh through their commitment to promote awareness of biodiversity conservation.
  • The Race is headlined by the Malaysian Rail-babbler on its official logo, a charismatic bird of Malaysia’s rich lowland rainforests for which Panti Bird Sanctuary represents, and is highly sought-after by birdwatchers.
  • The inaugural Race brought together more than 140 birdwatchers and photographers from 44 teams, and over 300 students participating in various nature activities organised by MNS and the Johor Forestry Department.
  • Over 120 species of birds were observed, including the endangered White-crowned Hornbill and Greater Green Leafbird, and several more that are Near Threatened.

KOTA TINGGI, JOHOR – Recognised for its international importance to rainforest bird species in Peninsular Malaysia, the Panti Forest Reserve is among the best-known rainforest landscapes in Negeri Johor, and it is home to more than 250 bird species including the threatened Great Argus, Wrinkled Hornbill and the Malaysian Rail-babbler.

This year, the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Johor State Forestry Department and Tourism Johor unveiled the ‘Panti Bird Race Johor’, the state’s first ever such event to raise public awareness of Panti Bird Sanctuary within Panti Forest Reserve and rainforest birds and their conservation, whilst strengthening opportunities for nature-based tourism. The inaugural Panti Bird Race is suitably headlined by the Malaysian Rail-babbler, a charismatic bird sought after by almost all birdwatchers visiting Malaysia.  Panti Bird Race Johor is jointly sponsored by the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation and Mapletree Investments, together with Canon Malaysia and Farm Fresh Milk. The race is further supported by BirdLife International, Nature Society Singapore and NEST Malaysia. 

Timed to coincide with the end of the migratory season for birds, the end of Ramadan, the Race brought together more than 140 participants in 44 teams from three  categories, with representation from Johor, Selangor, Sarawak, Penang and Negeri Sembilan. There were also race participants from India, China, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and a large contingent of 35 from Singapore. Flagging off at 10 am on 27 April, race participants roamed the famed ‘Bunker Track’ in Panti Bird Sanctuary on foot and in pre-arranged vehicles, visiting several checkpoints to look out for species such as broadbills, bee-eaters and babblers. 

Dato' Haji Salim Bin Aman, Director of the Johor State Forestry Department, shared, "It is heartening to see the passion from the birdwatching and nature photography communities in both Malaysia and Singapore joining this event along with our first bird race. We hope that the Panti Bird Race can encourage more people to embrace nature-based activities in Johor, which can also directly benefit local communities. Johor Forestry looks forward to strengthening our collaboration with our partners, the Malaysian Nature Society, related agencies and NGOs to promote Johor’s natural heritage and its conservation, thus making it as an ecotourism destination both nationally and abroad.”

Mapletree Investments Chairman, Mr Edmund Cheng added, “As a socially responsible company, Mapletree is thrilled to sponsor the Panti Bird Race Johor for the first time. This event embodies our CSR commitment to enriching communities through meaningful environmental awareness initiatives. The race brings together like-minded individuals who share a passion for the environment and allows them to connect with a deeper appreciation for nature.”

At the end of the Race, teams gathered for the prize presentation and closing ceremony at Panti Bird Sanctuary’s newly minted visitor centre, graced by YB Ling Tian Soon, Johor State Health and Environment Committee Chairman, Dato' Haji Salim Bin Aman and several representatives of the Forestry, Wildlife and Tourism Departments. Kota Tinggi district officer Tuan Haji Ahmad Nazir Mohd Nasir graced the race flag-off on 27 April. 

Team ‘Manbird’ was the winning team in the Novice Category, recording a total of 50 species and Team ‘M.R.S. Flyers’ in the Advanced Category with a total of 81 Species over the 24-hour period from 27 to 28 April 2024. Meanwhile, Team ‘Wild Only’ beat 14 other teams to win in the Photo Race Category, capturing images of 30 species. In total, more than 120 species were spotted by all the birdwatching teams, while the Photo Race teams took images of more than 50 species. Running in parallel along the Bird Race, over 300 school children from schools across the State took part in various nature activities, including nature walks and rambles organised by the Malaysian Nature Society.

Mr. Vincent Chow, President of the Malaysian Nature Society said, “We are very pleased to see the strong interest in the Panti Bird Race from every segment of society and are grateful to the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation, Mapletree Investments, Canon Malaysia and Farm Fresh Milk for their support and sponsorship.” Mr. Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Regional Director of BirdLife International noted, “The Panti Bird Race provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the important role that birds play.. The Race also created an opportunity for a three-way collaboration between our regional office, and two of our national Partners, the Malaysian Nature Society and Nature Society Singapore, to advance our goals to strengthen biodiversity conservation in the region.”

- End -

Winners of Panti Bird Race Johor

 Team name  
  Number of species observed
 Novice category
 Advanced category     
 M.R.S. Flyers
 The Crow
 Bornean Bristlehead
 Birdwatching Asia
 Tempua 3
 Photo Race  
 Wild Only
 The Green Burds 1
 SWAG Zebra Doves

Senior representatives of the organising teams led by Dato’ Salim bin Aman, Director Johor Forestry Department, preparing for the race flag-off, against the backdrop of Panti’s rainforest.

Birdwatching and photography teams gathering at the flag-off point, and getting themselves ready for the Bird Race. 

Team ‘Swag Blue-winged Pitta’ trying to spot a bulbul high up in the Panti forest canopy. 

Participants gathered for the closing and prize-giving ceremony on the morning of 28 April 2024. 

The winning team of the advanced category, the M.R.S. Flyers, receiving their prizes by YB Ling Tian Soon, Johor State Health and Environment Committee Chairman (all images: Malaysian Nature Society Johor Branch)


Linus Lui
Belinda Wong 
Senior Executive, Corporate Social Responsibility

Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd
Malaysian Nature Society Johor Branch
Tel: (65) 6377 6376

Tel: (+60)127080855 

Xabryna Kek
Ding Li Yong PhD
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications
Flyways and Advocacy Manager & Regional Flyways Coordinator
Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd
BirdLife International  
Tel: (65) 6377 4608
Tel: (65) 9838 2675


Headquartered in Singapore, Mapletree is a global real estate development, investment, capital and property management company committed to sustainability. Its strategic focus is to invest in markets and real estate sectors with good growth potential. By combining its key strengths, the Group has established a track record of award-winning projects, and delivers consistently attractive returns across real estate asset classes.

The Group manages three Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and nine private equity real estate funds, which hold a diverse portfolio of assets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the United States (“US”). As at 31 March 2024, Mapletree has assets under management of S$77.5 billion, comprising office, retail, logistics, industrial, data centre, residential and student accommodation properties.

The Group’s assets are located across 13 markets globally, namely Singapore, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong SAR, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the UK, the US and Vietnam. To support its global operations, Mapletree has established an extensive network of offices in these countries.

For more information, please visit


The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) aims to promote the study, appreciation, and conservation of Malaysia’s natural heritage, focusing on biological diversity and sustainable development. MNS is a membership-based organisation working closely with grassroots communities, as well as corporate and government agencies. MNS concentrates on four different areas of work to achieve its mission:

Science and Conservation – Working towards conserving key habitats in Malaysia, through scientific research, consultancy work for government agencies, advocacy, developing policies, campaigns and lobbying.

Environmental Education – Working in partnership with the Ministry of Education towards instilling nature awareness among school children, through the MNS School Nature Club programme. This programme currently reaches out to almost 10,000 school children nationwide though publications, camps and workshops. Environmental education is also extended to local communities and decision makers through camps and workshops.

Parks – MNS works towards establishing new nature parks to create more protected areas and to bring nature closer to the public. Currently MNS hosts three different parks representing three habitat types; mangrove, caves, and highlands.

Publications – MNS has been documenting and publishing findings from Malaysia’s natural heritage since 1940 through the Malayan Nature Journal. Apart from the journal, MNS produces a colourful, quarterly magazine, the Malaysian Naturalist, targeted at people from all walks of life as well as various other nature-related publications.

For more information, please visit


BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards the sustainable use of natural resources. Altogether, there are 118 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country or territory – and this continues to grow. Recognised as the global authority on bird conservation, BirdLife’ unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation, benefitting both nature and people. BirdLife’s approach is guided by rigorous science and informed by practical feedback from projects on the ground. The Malaysian Nature Society is the National Partner of BirdLife in Malaysia. 

The BirdLife Partnership has six regional BirdLife Coordination Offices throughout the world and a Global Office in Cambridge, the United Kingdom. Together, the regional officers form the BirdLife International Secretariat, which co-ordinates and facilitates the BirdLife International strategies, programmes and policies.

For more information, please visit

Ding Li Yong PhD