Bird nest entrepreneurs in Mukah want Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to intervene and help save the birdhouses from destruction.

“We don’t have any other choice and only the chief minister can help solve the problem. A solution is needed for the benefit of all parties,” said John Low, one of the bird nest entrepreneurs.

Low is among the 150 bird nest entrepreneurs in Mukah who operate illegal birdhouses, to be destroyed by Forestry Department rangers on Tuesday.

He told BERNAMA of the 150 bird nest entrepreneurs, only two had been given licence to operate. Sarawak has some 1,500 birdhouses.

On Oct 14 last year, rangers from the Forestry Department destroyed two birdhouses at Medan Setiaraya and the new township in Mukah.

“We just want the government to legalise the birdhouses. Prepare a guideline and we will follow it,” said Mukah Bird Nest Entrepreneurs Association chairman Philip Tiong.

In Sarawak, the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 states that birds can only live in its natural like caves, not in urban areas and the outskirt.

Unlike the other states, the Sarawak government has yet to come up with a guideline for swallow rearing for the sake of the public and environment.

In peninsular Malaysia, swallow rearing is allowed at commercial lots or shophouses but not residential areas.

Sarawak bird nest entrepreneurs wanted a dialogue with the Veterinary Services Department, relevant agencies and local authorities to find a solution to the problem.

“This is to address the problem and assist them to relocate to designated zones, to comply with proper rules and regulations like pig farming.

“At this moment, all the bird nest entrepreneurs are in the dark about the requirements,” said Ben Chai.

He proposed that bird nest entrepreneurs be given a a two year grace period to relocate to new areas.

An industry source said the state government had two choices, relocate the birdhouses or prepare a guideline just like that in peninsular.

There are more than 10,000 swallow birdhouse premises nationwide producing over 12 tonnes of bird nests worth some RM500 million monthly.