More than 280 people including 9 Firefly Ambassadors attended a firefly talk and walk in the neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail last Saturday on 15th February 2020. This event was organized by Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) as a run-up activity to the Earth Day KL 2020, which will be held on Sunday, 19th April 2020. This year marks the 50th year to observe Earth Day globally, with the theme Climate Action.
People from all walks of life, including children and elderly, came to the talk held at Menara Ken to learn more about fireflies, their habitats and vulnerabilities to changes in the ecosystem due to development and climate change. Mr Sonny Wong, Honorary Secretary of the Fireflies International Network, co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) a Firefly Specialist Group and firefly conservation program manager of the Malaysian Nature Society, spoke of the international interest in fireflies and support for the conservation of their habitats.
Special guest speaker Dr Wan F. A. Jusoh, Research Fellow at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, shared her research and study findings which was commissioned by FoBK. She and her research team have identified at least three genera of fireflies in Bukit Kiara to-date and related the significant difficulty in identifying the fireflies to species level in the absence of taxonomic studies. She highlighted the need for more research and collaboration with different institutions including undertaking a full taxonomy study in the future when funds are available.
“Watching the awe and wonder in the participants’ eyes when they discovered that they have glow worms and fireflies in their backyard – it reminds me why I research them” said the Terengganu-born Dr Wan Jusoh.
The attendees proceeded to Taman Persekutuan Lembah Kiara for a night walk to observe the fireflies. The Firefly Ambassadors guided the participants who shared dos and don’ts to be observed during the walk.
“We are very encouraged to see such an overwhelming response to the firefly talk and walk. It further demonstrates why it is so vital to protect Bukit Kiara as a green lung for future generations”, said Ir Dr Kriban G N, President of FoBK. He hoped there would be public support for FoBK to conduct more field research on the fireflies in Bukit Kiara.
Also present were Pn Mariam from Jabatan Landskap Negara, Federal Territories Ministry, and her team who participated in the talk and walk.