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Sunday, May 24, 2009

No more fireflies in six months?

Firefly


Firefly

loss of sanctuaries and tourist spots By CHRISTINA TAN

SHAH ALAM: The entire firefly population in Kampung Kuantan and Kampung Bukit Belimbing in Kuala Selangor is facing wipe-out in six months.

"All the fireflies there will be gone for good by the end of this year if no measures are taken to protect them," said Selangor Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong.

The Selangor Government had issued a stop-work order for all activities in firefly sanctuaries along Sungai Selangor yesterday, she said.

She said the decline of the firefly colonies in the two popular tourist spots was at a very serious stage, with half of them already disappeared.

"We have identified seven critical areas in the two villages where the firefly colonies in four spots are already gone," she said after the weekly exco meeting here yesterday.

Last month, The Star reported that the days of firefly watching would be over because of land clearing which has damaged the habitat.

Wong said that massive cutting of trees and improper development along the river were the main reasons the fireflies were dying.

Furthermore, some areas along the river bank had been turned into oil palm plantations, she said, adding that there were also factories and restaurants operating too close to the river.

"A total of 38ha of land along the river has also been cleared," she added.

Wong said the fireflies, whose lifespan is only three months, could not survive in such an environment where there was only polluted water.

She also said that there was no river reserve along the river and part of the land had been sold to individuals.

The state government, she said, would gazette the land along the 20km river into a buffer zone.
It had also identified 52 landowners along the river and would take over the land from them as soon as possible, she said.

Wong said that the state government would also start to replant trees such as sagu, berem- bang, nipah and rembau immediately to rebuild the habitat of the fireflies at the critical areas.

The state government was establishing a fund to get the private and public sectors involved in preserving the firefly sanctuaries.

Related Link : Save Our Environment, save the world

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