Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sungai Sepetang-one of the major firefly river in Perak

Posted by: malaysianfireflies on: March 23, 2010
In: firefly symposium or meetings and media
The Star Online > NorthSaturday March 20, 2010
Call to look after fireflies By FOONG THIM LENG
The firefly colonies can be found about 1km downstream from Kampong Dew, Taiping, Perak, Malaysia.
Wong said the river could be easily polluted by waste water from the farms and plantations.
”The firefly species found in the man-grove of Sungai Sepetang is the ‘pteroptyx tener’, the same species found in Sungai Selangor.
”The adult fireflies flashing together every night on a ‘berembang’ tree when they mate is a mesmerising sight to watch,” he said in an interview.
Mesmerising attraction: Wong giving a talk on fireflies at Sungai Sepetang during the MNS 70th anniversary roadshow in Ipoh. Sungai Sepetang, Wong said, was one of the congregating firefly zones (CFZs) in Malaysia, adding that some form of regulation was needed to protect the river’s firefly colonies.
”MNS is currently documenting the major CFZs in Malaysia for the Government to know where to protect and promote the fireflies as well as the mangrove habitats which are fast disappearing in the country.
”The mangroves in a CFZ act as a nursery for young fish and marine life, protect the coast from tsunamis and erosion, create food sources and provide charcoal,” he said,
Wong said the fireflies were an important eco-tourism product which could bring in revenue to the local community, state, and country just like the Sungai Selangor firefly watching industry.
“The fireflies of Sungai Sepetang are not the only attraction around here.
“Tourists can also visit the historical sites around Taiping, museums, charcoal factories, mangroves, fishing villages and also enjoy the local food.
”The fauna found here include migratory birds and crocodiles which tourists would love to watch,” he said.
Wong said the existence of fireflies was a good indicator of a clean river.
”In Japan, fireflies are protected by law. Their firefly watching period is only three months in summer.
”The drains or former streams are rehabilitated to become firefly habitats and are protected and looked after by the community.
”The Japanese like to watch fireflies and they come all the way to Malaysia to do this but locals here do not know the existence of fireflies in their own backyard and lack awareness in firefly protection,” he said.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Conservation of fireflies in Kg Dew & Sepetang river catchment

Conservation of fireflies in Kg Dew & Sepetang river catchment
Nurul Salmi, Abdul Latip,Nurul Nur Farhana Yahya and Asif Abdul Rahim
School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau Pinang
Fireflies are also important as biological indicators for the health of an environment,especially the wetlands. Decrease in the number of fireflies in an area can indicate a change in the environment of the area. Indirectly, the conservation of fireflies can also lead to theconservation of many of flora and fauna species that create the habitat of species. In additionto biological indicators, fireflies also have been used as biological control in agriculture, inmedicine and others.

It is of out most priority to educate not only local residents but also relevant
authorities and local government on the importance of fireflies and encourage them to
become involved in firefly conservation and thus, to protect the environment.

Relevant firefly aggregation to ensure that its life cycle is not disturbed. It is crucial and highly recommended that relevant authorities replanting of, berembang trees as well as Nypa in this areas in order to rehabilitate firefly habitat with the aim of, attracting and increasing its population.To do this, we need to understand the biology and ecology of firefly and the berembang trees to ensure that all firefly life cycle requirements such as soil salinity, water salinity and quality, prey, absence of human disturbance etc are fulfilled.

Integrated river basin management could be a starting point towards conservation actions, which will offer a platform for diverse stakeholders to cooperate and coordinate strategies.
Well coordinated strategies from all stakeholders will enable extended development in
other activities including ecotourism to take place in a systematic manner, ensuring
sustainable practices to be implemented and performed. One of the best example of tourism involved fireflies was Kampung Kuantan in Selangor. The fireflies of Kampung Kuantan have generated worldwide interest. Although fireflies are present throughout the Selangor river, synchronizing aggregation and flashing of the fireflies is restricted to areas along the riverbank where there are prominent Sonneratia (Berembang) stands.

The revenue from firefly tourism became a profitable side income to the local people and to this end has contributed towards improving the financial status and lifestyle of the village and its community. The success of Kampung Kuantan in fireflies tourism management can be a guide to Sepetang river. However, recent reports on the decline in its firefly population and habitat degradation should be critically heeded and lessons learned.

For Sepetang river, various challenges await if Integrated River Basin Management is to be implemented. Knowing the potential tourism attraction to the area, it is wise that the ecotourism potential is tapped in a sustainable manner. As a start, urgent actions has to be initiated immediately so as to control and monitor present human activities along the river if the current firefly population is to be maintained. This sensitive lampryids are racing against time for its survival.