Dec 15, 2017
NATURE’S GLOW SEES A BRIGHTER FUTURE
On a dark moonless night down by the river banks of Selangor, thousands upon thousands of tiny golden lights glittered gracefully all around us. They flickered away in an unsynchronised symphony of sorts, unaware of the dangers that were about to eclipse them.
Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park is home to one of the world’s largest firefly colonies mainly consisting of four major firefly groups – the Colophotia, Luciola, Lynchnuris and Pteroptyx Tener. All around the world, populations like these are slowly disappearing thanks to light pollution and urban development that are destroying their natural habitats. Without an ideal Berembang Tree to call home, the females struggle to find a place to lay their eggs, and the larvae have difficulty maturing into adults. It is a vicious cycle and like all the other creatures driven to extinction before them, this story was not unheard of. The ending, however, was about to be rewritten.
As part of our Kampung Kuantan Firefly Preservation Project, we have been working towards creating a better home and future for the fireflies at the Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park. In 2008, we set up a fund to help subsidise our research efforts and to perform upgrading and maintenance works on the facilities at Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park. To date, our sponsorship has made way for 30 new boats, a new jetty, six gazebos, a mini theatre, an additional pathway for entry and exit, and re-wiring works at the park.
In doing all these, we have not forgotten about the boatmen - the true lifeblood of this park. In line with our sustainable efforts to care for the park’s entire ecosystem, we continue to plan year-round programmes that focus specifically on the welfare and personal development of these individuals who are the driving force behind this centre. Some of the activities we have organised in the past include Arabic and Japanese language courses, programmes such as ‘Suarasa Aidilfitri’, ‘Ihya Ramadhan’ and many more.
Since 2010, TNB Research Sdn Bhd (TNBR), in cooperation with the Centre for Environmental Science and Natural Resource Studies of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) have been studying the habitat and biological requirements of fireflies. These research efforts have allowed us to successfully breed Berembang trees – which are a rich source of food for fireflies and to replant them all around the Selangor riverbanks through our Let’s Plant Berembang Trees project.
But for our efforts to truly make an impact, the public needed to be informed of this great treasure our nation has. For this reason, we organised social visits, and programmes such as the Environmental Awareness Camp (Kem Kesedaran Alam Sekitar), An Evening with the Boatmen, the Back to School Programme and TNB Schools Adoption Programme, to spread an awareness of firefly conservation to all.
Throughout our rehabilitation and conservation activities, we continue to measure the efficiency and achievements of all the work we have done, so we can constantly improve. These upgrades and programmes not only improve visitor experience, but also promote the park as a prime tourist destination in Selangor. Most importantly, it’s all done to ensure the future generations have the chance to witness the beauty of these remarkable creatures in their lifetimes.Till today, the wonders of the firefly colony in Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park are only a row boat away. Visitors can easily charter boats daily, except on the occasions of rainy weather. We recommend the best time to visit is between 8 - 11pm, where you can purchase entries at the ticket booth which opens at 7.45pm.