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Saving the unique mangrove congregating fireflies in Malaysia (Coleoptera : Lampyridae)

WONG CHOONG HAY

Abstract


The Malaysian Nature Society members’ regular firefly watching activity along
the mangrove river of Sungai Selangor led to the setting up of the first local community
based firefly watching in Kampung Kuantan, which is now world famous. Being an
important tourism revenue earners, these firefly mangrove habitats also provides the
ecosystem services for the livelihood of the local communities and well-being of the
environment locally as well as globally. However, these mangroves habitat are decimating
at a rapid rate around the world. Under the MNS Firefly Conservation Initiative, the first
step of the firefly conservation process was made to document the current mangrove
congregating firefly zones(CFZ) in Malaysia. Fireflies worldwide faces the same pressure
from land-use changes, from ecologically light pollution, from lack of education and
awareness, to a small extant in wild collection-trade, availablility of funding and
government support and all these are outlined in the Selangor Declaration on Firefly
Conservation (revised in 2014). Japan is the only country that legally protects fireflies.
Malaysia currently has recognised two firefly protected areas as a result of the conservation
efforts. Malaysia needs more research to provide a basis for firefly conservation and
restoration of damaged firefly habitats. Firefly is not a pest, but a friend to the farmers,
a bio-indicator of clean water, its lights producing chemicals are used in medical research,
provides revenue from watching firefly, and firefly is a part of human culture, art
and stories. MNS hopes that the initiative would inspire future promising researchers,
educators, decision makers and planners, conservationists and other fireflyers in their
efforts to save the fireflies.

Keywords


Lampyridae, mangrove congregating fireflies, congregating firefly zone, Selangor Declaration on firefly conservation

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