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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.

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