The proboscis monkey, also known as the long-nosed monkey, will be the official mascot for Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014. Tourism Malaysia said the monkey was chosen as it “encapsulated the essence of Malaysia Truly Asia”.
“Like the diversity encapsulated in the Malaysia Truly Asia branding, proboscis monkeys also possess diverse skills. They frequently leap from tree limbs and hit the water with a comical belly flop, as well as attract their mate with their unusually large and long nose,” it said. “The proboscis monkey also has webbed feet, which enables it to swim.”
“In fact, proboscis monkeys are fairly good swimmers. Naturally, they have always been crowd pullers, especially for eco-adventure tourists who would not miss a chance to catch a glimpse of this monkey,” it said.
The proboscis monkey, which belongs to the family of Asian langurs, is the only member under the genus of Nasalis.
The monkey – Nasalis larvatus – is primarily found in Borneo, particularly in Sabah, and is one of the most endangered animals in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Unlike other wildlife species scattered around the country, proboscis monkeys are mostly concentrated in Kinabatangan, Sukau, Sandakan, Klias and other parts of Sabah.
In the past, the orang utan, leatherback turtle and hornbill have been used to promote Visit Malaysia Year and other state-level tourism campaigns.
The mascot was unveiled during the World Tourism Conference 2013 in Malacca on Oct 21 by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz .
Tourism Malaysia said the mascot for VMY 2014 would give credence and recognition to wildlife. “Having the proboscis monkey as the mascot will also elevate Malaysia in the eyes of the world – by promoting its nature and wildlife conservatory initiatives through tourism.”
Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen urged the board’s overseas officials to emphasise on mega events that were highly saleable to the East Asia market for VMY 2014.
She urged them to embark on more joint promotions with the corporate sector as well as tour operators in the region, including the airlines, in an effort to improve connectivity.
Dr Ng said this during the Overseas Directors Regional Meeting in Kunming City, China, on Thursday.
Source : The Star Online, 26 Oct 2013