The Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary won the "Best Tourist Attraction (Natural Attraction)" category at the Malaysia Tourism Awards, on indications of its beauty and allure.
Located in Kerian in the state of Perak at the northern tip of the Matang Forest Reserve, it was established in 1970 by the Wildlife and National Parks to protect migratory and resident species of birds. During the migration season between August and April every year, more than 200,000 migratory birds representing some 50 species are estimated to stop over here. Some of these birds come from as far as Siberia in Russia, Kazakhstan, Japan, China and Mongolia. The mangrove swamp forest and mudflats of Kuala Gula are not only essential for migratory birds but also for the 600 families of fishermen who rely solely on the mangrove forests and marine ecosystem for their livelihood.
Matang Mangrove Forest is the largest of mangrove ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia. These ecologically abundant mangrove habitats stretch along the west coast tidal mudflats of northern Perak for almost 50km and another 40km along the shorelines of the sheltered river systems within the reserve's five estuaries.
There are also well-equipped and informative visitor centres where you can get detailed educational programmes. Displays, which focus on the importance of safeguarding and preserving the mangrove ecosystems and the large numbers of resident and migrant bird species are showcased here.