Andrew J. Sebastian is a well regarded naturalist, environmentalist and sought after bird guide, serving as the Head of Communications at MNS for the past 7 years. A Law graduate, he joined the Society 17 years ago, having spent much of his childhood in the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) where his father worked for the Forestry Department. He served MNS in the full time capacity involving practical and grass roots projects such as Conservation Campaigns to protect Belum Temengor, Bukit Larut, Tanjung Tuan, Bukit Gasing, Pulau Redang, Cameron Highlands and Sg. Buloh Forest Reserve.
He also assisted with Climate Change issues, Local Community Empowerment projects, developing fundraising, CSR and corporate partnerships as well as coordinating the media on behalf of MNS. He was also one of the official spokespersons for MNS.
In terms of Birds and Eco tourism, he is an avid birdwatcher and a nature/bird consultant. He developed the first “Developing Birdwatching As An Ecotourism Product” proposal and project for the Ministry of Tourism in 2008. He led the Milky Stork Captive Breeding Programme (Kuala Selangor, 2001), developed Bird Checklist for Kota Damansara Community Forest, Kenyir Lake, Genting Highlands and Bird Tourism Development Plans for Genting Berhad and Belum Rainforest Resort. Andrew conducts workshops on birdwatching for beginners and represents MNS at most regional Bird Fairs, including the British Bird Fair in 2009, the Moscow International Travel Trade in March 2011, as a subject matter expert on Birdwatching/Ecotourism for Tourism Malaysia (Industrial Development Division) to promote bird tourism and bird conservation. He was also the focal point and involved previously in organizing the Fraser’s Hill Bird Race for the past 6 years, MNS’ iconic Raptor Watch, which is the largest nature event in Malaysia, for the past 8 years and helped develop the concept and coordination of the inaugural Borneo Bird Festival in 2009. He also represents MNS as one of the founding members of the Asian Bird Fair (ABF) partnership, created in 2010, consisting of 5 regional bird and national bird conservation organizations.
In 2012, Andrew represented Malaysia at the Philippines Bird Festival (Dec 2012) and Taipei International Bird Fair (Nov 2012) and conducted two courses in Introduction to Birdwatching & BioTourism certified course for Tourism Malaysia in December 2012 and 2014. In Jan 2013, he was a presenter at the Global Birdwatchers Conference in India and in Feb, he presented at the International Wildlife Tourism Conference in Taiwan, as speaker for Tourism Malaysia in Hong Kong. In September 2009, he conceptualised and coordinated the International Hornbill Expedition in Belum. In Nov 2013 he presented ‘International Wildlife Tourism’ in Mei-O University, Okinawa He organised the Royal Belum Bird Expedition 5-7th September 2014 and very recently he successfully organised the Asian Bird Fair in Langkawi 28th Nov 2014.
In February 2015, Andrew unveiled his latest project, developing Tourism Malaysia’s “Birdwatching in Malaysia” booklet for worldwide circulation.
14th May saw Andrew present a paper “Birdwatching Sites in Pahang” at the Tourism Pahang Travel Mart & Seminar in Singapore. The very next day, he flew to Jingshan, China as a guest of the CCX to attend their Annual Jingshan Bird Race as part of the Asian Bird Fair Network Executive Committee.
On May 22 2015, Andrew lead his MNS team in organising a successsful seminar in conjunction with The Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2015. The seminar was entitled Ecotourism – The Way Forward for Fraser’s Hill in which Andrew presented 2 papers on the ‘Organising & Promoting Bird Events in the Region’ and ‘Tanjung Tuan’s Raptor Watch’.