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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comments from participants of the Firefly workshop:

I was happy that I could attend the firefly workshop in Kuching last week. Thank you to MNS Kuching, especially Rebecca & also Sonny for inviting me. Thanks also to Wan Faridah for sharing the monitoring technique. Now I have a standard rapid assessment technique that can be used here in Sabah. Currently I am co-supervising a final year student doing her project on firefly monitoring in Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre. I’m also applying a research grant from the Nagao Foundation Japan to study the congregating firefly in Sabah more intensively. If I got the research grant, I would take one MSc student and a few more undergraduates to do a detailed study on ecology and conservation of Pteroptyx all over Sabah, and of course I’ll share with you guys the information that I got from here. I wish I could attend the firefly taxonomy course held in FRIM next year because I have some inland solitary fireflies that I collected from forests in Sabah that need to be identified. Hope to see you again.

Mahadimenakbar Mohamed Dawood
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Dear fellow committee members,
I was one of the participants at the just concluded Firefly Monitoring Workshop held at Unimas and Kampung Buntal over the weekend.
Generally, it was divided into theory and practical sessions. Sunny Wong, a senior conservation officer from MNS Hq Wan Faridah Akmal Wan Jusoh, a researcher from UPM facilitated these sessions.
I learned a lot about fireflies from the biology of the insect (it’s a beetle) to their importance to the ecosystem and people. Our facilitators also shared their experiences on how to carry out a firefly monitoring before heading out to the field at Kampung Buntal in the evening (Saturday, Dec 5).
Both theory and practical sessions were very informative and interactive, with many of us asking lots of questions like when do they breed; do they die after mating; how long is their life cycle; how many species in Malaysia; what do they eat; flashing behaviour and pattern; etc.
On the second day (Sunday), many gave suggestions on where should we go after the workshop and how to improve it.
Here, I would like to add a few suggestions. In the next workshop for the villagers, I feel that some part of the workshop content had to be changed – make it simpler for the local community to understand; presentations and materials in BM; dos and don’ts during firefly monitoring; and also include what’s in for the people if they help to protect and conserve fireflies habitat like potential tourism products from Buntal other than firefly watching. Examples: kek lapis kelip-kelip buntal, mee goreng kelip-kelip buntal (not actual fireflies in the food but just a name to say that it’s a special recipe), buntal firefly t-shirt, buntal firefly key chain, etc. produced by the locals and for the local community.
Get elected representatives to take part as participant throughout the workshop, not to officiate the workshop and then leave (since MNSKB through the Japanese partner is funding the project, I feel we are not obligated to have politicians to officiate the project) They are the policy makers and therefore, should know what’s happening on the ground.
Extend invitations to guides and tour operators who operate in the area so that they can too learn about more about fireflies and the dos and don’ts.
Get some media people (those interested in nature and don’t mind to rough it out a little) to sit in as participants as well. (But if the committee feel that publicity should be minimal at the initial stage of the project, it’s understandable).
That’s all and thanks for your attention  ; )
Zora Chan, Secretary
MNS-Kuching Branch
Kuching, Sarawak

It was good to get together last week end. I learnt a lot of things. I will start monitoring the fireflies at my own cost in miri soon. It been raining and I need to plan. MNS miri will share the cost with me. I have some resources but i need to wait until the childeren goes schooling, when my inlaw is back in Miri, he is the boatman. I will be good to go the dark side of the moon like in Dec will be  15-18 Dec would be the best day to look for firefly. This saturday night we have a night walk in lambir hill. I would think that firefly is not presence there cos it in a hill area. The MNS miri have a lot of project and I have not come up with my proposal yet. However I will start with my own soon. Will let all of you know when I do it.

Musa Musbah
MNS-Miri Branch
Miri, Sarawak

On behalf of UPM, we would like to thank all of you for organising, hosting and attending the firefly workshop which can be said the first of its kind. We learnt a lot from you and inputs for us to further update the manual for future workshop with other MNS Branches and who ever interested to help in the conservation of congregating firefly habitats.

A special thanks from myself to Wan Faridah and Dr Rasidah from UPM, for their support and effort in putting up together  a firefly survey manual and Wan Faridah for facilitating in the workshop.

Sonny Wong, Senior Conservation Officer, Conservation Division
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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