Article and images by Lim Swee Yian
Perak MNS members are always ready to support MNS events especially when it is at our doorstep. On the evening of 24 July 2011, a group of us turned up at Kg Dew in a show of support for the first ever Firefly Festival in Malaysia and indeed the whole of South East Asia.
MNS and the local group KECAP (Kelip-kelip Cahaya Alam Perak), with funding from the RAMSAR Regional Centre East Asia Wetland Fund and support from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, initiated this festival “to promote sustainable use of the Sungai Sepetang natural resources and promote firefly watching activity in Kampung Dew as an important ecotourism product for the local community and as a conservation tool”. The festival theme “Fireflies, mangroves and local community” sums up the mission of the whole project in a nutshell.
There was the usual colouring contest to enable children to participate. Handicraft such as baskets made from used paper and flowers made from sea shells and, amazingly even fish scales, were on sale. Taiping Zoo and MNS put up an exhibition. MNS Secretariat displayed posters about fireflies and their ecology. Perak MNS Bird Group put up photos on birds found in mangrove habitats, highlighting that mangroves are important for the endangered Milky Stork and are important wintering grounds for migratory birds. Some members, on their own initiative, talked to visitors about MNS and tried to recruit them.
The programme for the day ended with a trip down Sungai Sepetang to see the synchronous fireflies flash their “song”.