As the new millennium begins, Malaysia approaches a watershed for wildlife and wilderness. Human activity is undoing creation; the remaining degraded and fragmented lands will not maintain their biological diversity and evolutionary processes. Malaysia needs a bold plan to halt and reverse the destruction. Healing the land means reconnecting the parts so vital flows can be renewed.
The mission of the Malaysia Wildlands Project is to protect and restore the natural heritage of the nation through the establishment of a connected system of wildlands.
The idea is simple. To stem the disappearance of wildlife and wilderness we must allow the recovery of whole ecosystems and landscapes in every region of the country.
Recovery on this scale will take some time. This vision of renewal will rest on the spirit of social responsibility. We acknowledge that the health of our society depends on its wilderness.
The land has given much to us in ecosystem services; and now it is time to give something back - to allow nature to thrive once more and to restore the links that will sustain both wilderness and the foundations of human communities.
We are ambitious: we live for the day where we will see when humans dwell with respect, harmony, and affection for the land; when we come to live no longer as conquerors but as stewards of the Earth.
We are called to our task by the inability of existing Forest Reserves, National Parks and State Parks to adequately protect life on Malaysia in the face of increasing human population, encroachment and development.
These remaining wildlands are too small and too isolated to perpetuate the nation's biological wealth.
Top predators - including the tiger, leopard, birds of prey including owls- have been greatly reduced and are imperiled in much of the remaining habitats.
The disappearance of these top predators and other keystone species hastens the unraveling of ecosystems and impoverishes the lives of human beings.
Forest has been cleared, encroached and fragmented leaving only small isolated habitats of once vast ecosystems.
Roads cut through the remaining wildlife corridors resulting in many road kills and animals shying from migrating between habitats.
A rising tide of invasive exotic species, animals and plants threatens these ecosystems even further with extinction.
The Meaning of Wilderness
We reject the notion that wilderness is merely a remote destination suitable only for backpacking. We see wilderness as a wild home for unfettered life. Wilderness means:
Extensive road less areas-vast, self regulated landscapes- free of mechanized human use and sounds and construction of modern civilization;
Viable, self-reproducing populations of all native species, including top predators;
Natural patterns of diversity at the genetic, species, ecosystem, and landscape levels.
Such wilderness is absolutely essential. It is not the solution to every ecological problem, but without wilderness the planet will sink further into biological poverty, humanity's communion with its roots will be lost forever.
We will seek partnerships with grassroots and national conservationist organizations, government agencies, individuals, private land owners, and with naturalist, scientist and conservationist throughout the nation. We seek to heal nature's wounds by designing and creating wildlands networks and by restoring critical species and ecological process to the land.
We will advocate and campaign for the:
Establishment of large areas of wild habitats (Core Ecological Reserves) where plants and animals are unrestrained, where native species thrive, and where nature determines their evolutionary fate;
Establish extensive linkages between large natural areas to ensure the continuation of migration and other movements vital for the survival of healthy populations;
We must support the reintroduction of threatened native species.
Supporting the designation of new conservation areas and improve the management of existing public lands.
Campaigning for better land use practice such as sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry and sustainable fishery.
With your purchases we will actively contribute by:
Purchasing marginal agricultural lands around and between core ecological zones to increase the buffer zone and re-establish wildlife corridors.
Reforest these marginal lands with suitable native species of plantlife.
Promote and conduct the ecological restoration of the watershed areas.
Assisting land owners in the voluntary protection of critical parcels of private land.
Working with planers at all levels to create a balance between the needs of nature and human society.
Promote and conduct the planting of food plants for wildlife on private and public lands
Inspiring and educating the local communities in care of their environment, for its own sake and for the sake of those yet to come.
We are among the luckiest people on Earth.
In Malaysia, we still have a chance to preserve what many countries around us have already lost: our natural heritage. We still have approximately 55 percent of our natural heritage intact. It is still not too late to secure our remaining natural heritage.
We live for the day where we will see when people dwell with respect, harmony, and affection for the land; when we come to live no longer as conquerors but as stewards of the Earth.
We are Visionaries
The Malaysia Wildlands Project has been fostering a new kind of conservation movement that fills people with hope. It begins with a positive, science-based vision for wildlife, people, and nature in the 21st century.
We are a Diverse Team
It takes all kinds to create a vision, provide the science to make it happen, and implement a national conservation initiative. In a nutshell, we are a group of conservationist working with scientists, communicators, scientific advisors, and valued members nationwide.
Individuals and organizations - both grassroots and professional - embrace our work. We conduct our work in close cooperation government agencies, native peoples, private landowners, non-government organizations (NGOs), and naturalists.
Find out more about MWP and the individuals driven to make natural conservation in Malaysia a reality.
Irshad is a Malaysian of mixed parental heritage. His interest in nature was instilled in him at a very young age by his farther. Originally trained as a banker and working in Kuala Lumpur in a major banking institution. After five years of banking, realizing that banking was not his cup of tea, he resigned and bummed for three years along the beaches and islands of Malaysian. After reconnecting with nature, he realized that conservation was his true calling.
He arrived in Langkawi about fifteen years ago, fell in love with its natural beauty and knew that conservation and education was the only way to insure it is protected for the future. There has been no turning back since then.
He has since been involved in a weekly radio show, assisted and appeared in several television documentaries including National Geographic ("Hutan: Mysteries of the Malaysian Rainforest").
The most recent a short docu-ad that was aired on Discovery Channel "The Wedding Ceremony of the White Bellied Sea Eagle". His TV appearance is with Ian Wright from Globe Trekker shown in travel and living channel.
Irshad had also attended a short stint at the British Muzium of Natural History under the tutelage of Prof. Bernard D'Abrera.
He currently conducts regular interpretive tours for The Datai hotel. His tours are both informative and entertaining.
"What I hope to achieve on my walks is to show to the people that the forest is a living community of interactive and interdependent relationships. Not unlike our own relationships in our cities in our homes and among our families and friends. If we can win their hearts then we can win their minds and have a friend of nature for life. And when they leave for home I hope to have inspired them to make positive adjustment to help nature."
Irshad Mobarak, our very own Jungle-Wallah of Langkawi was announced as one of the DiGi Amazing Malaysians Awards 2007 for his work in preserving Langkawi Nature.
September 2016, Irshad Mobarak launched his first book Discovering Langkawi with Irshad Mobarak
Shaaban is from Langkawi, he comes from a family well-known for their knowledge as traditional Herbalist and Medicine men. Shaaban has inherited much of his family knowledge and has an intimate knowledge of the rainforest and jungle.
As a young man he used this knowledge of the rainforest to earn income by collecting herbs to treat the patients that visit his father. His skills came to the attention of the Forest Research Institute and Forestry Department who would engage his services as a guide. During the flowering season he would collect wild honey to supplement his income, something that he still does till this day.
Since 1992 Irshad and Shabaan have together developed some of the first truly ecological tours in Langkawi and have guided many international naturalists, documentary movie makers and tourists through the island's many unique ecosystem.
Shaaban today is a nature guide and ecologist at heart, sharing his knowledge and love of the rainforest with anybody who is interested to learn about Langkawi rainforest. His knowledge of the rainforest and its inhabitants and uncanny ability to locate shy animals put to good use for the conservation and best interest of langkawi sustainable eco tourism. He is now one of Wildlife's most knowledgeable and popular nature guide leading Jungle treks.
In addition to his love for nature, Shaaban is deeply involved in his village community affairs as a member of village council. He is also a part time fisherman and makes time to enjoy and join soccer game at the village soccer field
We'd like to hear your opinion and feedback. Write to us today!
Malaysia Wildlands Project aims to protect and restore the natural heritage of Malaysia through the establishment of a connected system of wildlands.
Your contribution will be channeled to planting native trees equal to the amount of carbon emission your travel to or within Malaysia has put out. A percentage will go to the purchase of marginal land along critical wildlife habitats to serve as buffer zones between habitats.