Malaysia joined to East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) on November 2012 and nominated Bako Buntal Bay as an EAAFP Flyway Network Site on 15th May 2013. On 23rd August 2013, the Chief Executive of EAAFP, Mr Spike Millington officially presented the network site certificate to Sarawak Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Hj Abdul Taib Mahmud during Sarawak Forestry Corporation’s 10th Anniversary dinner. The certificate signing of Bako Buntal Bay by Sarawak Chief Minister as a site in the East Asian Australasian Flyway Network officially recognised Bako Buntal Bay as an internationally important non-breeding site for a large of migratory waterbirds along the flyway.
Bako Buntal Bay is listed as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Sarawak, Malaysia, globally significant as an important site for waterbirds. Its habitat is vast and rich with mudflat, shallow water, intertidal zone and mangrove forest that attract migratory birds to feed on marine life and rest over winter of stop over while on passage.
Bako Buntal Bay is an important wintering site for a great number of waterbirds. Thirty-two species of shorebirds comprising an estimated 20,000-25,000 individuals winter in the Bay and its immediate surroundings.
The inclusion of Bako Buntal Bay as the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Site Network aims to conserve endangered water birds species. Several globally threatened and near threatened species such as the Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher and Far Eastern Curlew make their stops here. The environs also house more than 10% of the global population of Chinese Egret while the numbers of Red Knot and Great Knot are among the highest for any site in Malaysia.