MNS Langkawi's Blog

Persatuan Pencinta Alam Malaysia

A very worrying situation

2000 until 2009

I have been coming to Langkawi since the end of 2001 and I have been based full time in Langkawi since 2004. My job spec’ – Conservation and wildlife rehabilitation on Pulau Singa Besar under the funding of USM’s Usains research grant by MOSTE and this task is still in play today, with the exception that the primary burden has been taken over by the state government’s GLC (Government linked company)-which is the PKNK.

I have spent countless hours, days and nights in Pulau Singa Besar and I
have done numerous exploring expeditions within Langkawi’s islands. 22 days
in Pulau Singa Besar, 18 days in Dayang Bunting Island, 4 days in Pulau Besar
Basah, 12 days in Pulau Tuba, 3 days in Matchicang area and 4 days around
Gunung Raya.

In this short period of time, there has been a tremendous transformation
In Langkawi’s natural environmental status.

Once upon a time there were Porcupines (Hystrix brachyuran) /Landak Raya
roaming the areas of Bukit Malut, Gunung Matchingcang, Kedawang, Padang
Lalang, Gunung Raya and other parts of Langkawi. Now it is safe to say
that, if any survive at all, there are less than 10 to be found in the whole of Langkawi’s natural forest. There have been ZERO reported sightings between 2003 and 2009.
On several occasions from 2002 until the end of 2003, I saw with my own
eyes Napuh (Tragulus napu) roaming the lime stone areas of Dayang bunting.
Now there is only limestone.

From 2002 until 2004, dolphins frequently roamed the coastal area of Pulau Singa
Besar, Dayang bunting and Teluk baru in schools of 30 to 60…now there
Are only 3 to 5 in a group.

In 2000 until 2004, Pulau Singa Besar bay area was lighted up with a glowing,
light blue, swirling motion every night for a minimum of 1 hour, and the
size? From the mouth of the bay area until the end of the mangrove area, an area
estimated to be the equivalent of 6 or 8 soccer fields. More than 100 people mostly amateur astronomers from USM Penang were among the lucky few to witness such a spectacular sight.

It was actually millions of fish the locals call “ikan kekek”. it seems that its a form of communication among the fish. It starts with a 1-3 feet in diameter illumination and within 15 minutes the whole area is lit up. It was like throwing a match into a floor of wet petrol…after more or less one hour it slowly shrinks and then fades away..

The perpetrator!

Scientific Name: Leiognathidae
Common Name: Slipmouths, Ponyfishes and Slimys
Local Name: ikan KeKeK

It is a Small, sedentary fish, shoals in shallow coastal water, feeds
on invertebrates has an elongated oval compressed body with naked, bony ridges to dorsum of head.

Between 2000 and 2003, walking on the dead corals of Pulau Singa
Besar’s shore line during low tide was a nightmare, it took me 30
Minutes to reach the shore when the distance travelled was less than 100
meters…there were hundreds of sea cucumbers (Gamat). Now it is close to
impossible to find one.

From 2000 until 2002, on several occasions on the way back from Pulau Singa besar
in the evening, several fishermen’s boats would be coming to shore with
the day’s catch. Catches were fish, crabs, prawns and sting rays. Fish were
mostly groupers no smaller than 1kg in size, sting rays no lesser than 5 kg
and prawns were A or B sized prawns. One scene I will not forget is a wooden
boat with a wing flapping as if the occupant was trying to take flight; I waited until the boat came to shore. It was a 120kg sting ray. Now fishermen come to shore with
an average fish size that is less the 800grams. Fish now are mostly 200grams to
300grams.

This is just a tiny view of the real picture…If We as MNS members do not
step up and play a role in completing some serious MNS goals, then less than 5
years from now , I guarantee my tale of “there were Once upon a time”, will double in length. This is now in all our hands…believe it or not. Most us here in Langkawi are directly and indirectly dependent on the natural beauty of Langkawi Island , so YOU all do the maths…

I really hope that more of MNS members can volunteer just a little bit of
your precious time to look beyond your homes and consider what “Once was
there”. Project that image into the future and visualise what is coming…

Please step up because you want to save what is left of our decreasing nature….

Food for thought…

1st November 2009

Terry

Filed under: Habitat Destruction, , , , , ,

Love is in the air

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

The rainforest of Langkawi is slightly different to the rainforest on most of Mainland Malaysia. This is because here on Langkawi we go through a distinct dry season that usually starts in the beginning or the middle of the month of December. This dry season is very stressful for a rainforest and when a rainforest does not get enough rain it begins to flower. Thus the start of the dry season is also the start of the major flowering season.

Many animals especially the birds will choose the dry season as the season of love and courtship. This is because when their young arrives it will arrive in time for the flowering, the fruiting, the seeding season and along with all that many pollinating insect too like bees, beetles and butterflies too. A season of plenty is here and there will be lots of food for the new arrivals, their parents and the many others.

This is the best time to be in Langkawi. Love is in the air so to speak. Listen and you will hear the cooing love songs of our rainforest pigeons and the drumming of a lovesong of goldenback woodpecker. And if you look up in the sky you will see the aerobatic courtship display of the dollar bird. Look into the trees and you may see the massive nest of the White Bellied Sea Eagle and if you are patient you will see the male bringing brunch for her.

One of the most beautiful courtships that I have ever seen is the courtship display of the White Bellied Sea Eagle. In the fifteen years that I have been on Langkawi I have had the privilege to have seen the wedding ceremony of these birds only three times. Why so few times you might ask, well these birds are monogamous i.e. they pair off for life so you do not see too many wedding ceremonies, only once in a pairs lifetime.

This bird reaches maturity at year five and can live for about twenty eight years. And when it is time for a young male to pair off he will find a potential mate and chase her. His job is to catch her so he relentlessly chases her while her job is to not make it easy for him. Sounds familiar I am sure. If he is unable to catch her he is probably too young or not strong enough. But if he is strong, fast and fit he will come up close to her, he will try to get directly above her, now when he is just above her he brings his talons down towards her, and she turns over to fight him off. But after many attempts at fighting him off, she is now too tired and eventually relents by giving her talons to him.

Now unable to flap their wings the pair spins fall in a most beautiful slow spiral dance and just before they reach the top of the trees they let go and she then joins up with him and they fly off together into the sunset (Ok so I made up the sunset bit), that’s the wedding of the White Bellied Sea Eagle.

So!..Keep a good look out in our skies and who knows you might just be lucky enough and get to see the courtship display of the White Bellied Sea Eagle.

Posted By: Irshad Mobarak
on 2nd December 2009

Filed under: Education, , , , , , , ,

Children Books

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Malaysian Mamals

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Malaysian Fungi

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Malaysian Flowers

Malaysian Flowers

Corak - patterns of nature

Corak - patterns of nature

Corak – Photographic Book – RM. 20

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi

Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi

MNS Manifesto

MNS mission is to promote the study, appreciation, conservation and protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage, focusing on biological diversity and sustainable developments.

MNS Langkawi Committee 2013-2014

Chairman: Mr.Eric Sinnaya
Vice Chairman: Mr.Vijayndran Muniandy
Secretary: Ms.Daisy Samuel
Treasurer: Mr.M.Suresh Kumar Ratnani
Committee Member: Mr Irshad Mobarak, Dato Alexander Issac, Tun Sarimah Mohd Sharif, Mr Leong Ah Min,
Mr Teoh Cheng Kung, Mr Borhan Hamid.

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