Junglewalla hosted 2 groups comprising Canadian International school students based in China , their respective teachers as well as representatives from the adventure group from Hong Kong. The activity planned was mangrove planting along two designated areas in the mangroves of Sg. Kilim.
The groups gathered at Kilim Jetty and after getting everyone organized safely onto two boats, the groups then departed the jetty toward the site of the planting. Along the way , our Senior Naturalist, Irshad Mobarak proceeded in giving the first group a short but informative and captivating briefing on the Natural History of the mangroves and some planting techniques for the mangrove seedlings or propagule . This certainly sparked awe and wonder amongst the school children!
After a short boat ride up the Kilim river, the first group headed by Senior Junglewalla Naturalist Francis Samuel and yours truly pulled over the first designated planting spot along the mangrove swamp . Irshad led the second group to the next location and the same briefing was presented by him along the way.
The group led by Francis quickly settled down in the various spots in the mangrove swamp and after some quick safety tips given by Francis on potential poisonous creatures and plants in the mangrove as well as a quick reminder on the proper planting technique, the group proceeded to plant all around the swamp with such a high level of enthusiasm and passion. Some of the teachers and students inquired about the flora and fauna of the mangroves and were delighted to be told by us that it was teeming with wildlife and plant life. The sight of birds, mudskippers , butterflies, mangrove snails and the infamous ‘blind your eye’ plant Excoecaria agallocha also known buta buta in the Malay language ( buta meaning blind) truly gripped the attention of the participants.
After an afternoon of successful planting, the two groups converged at the Bat Cave located on the same river where they were given a tour of the caves and an explanation of the Natural History of the caves . The two species of bats inhabiting the caves were sighted much to the delight of the students. Irshad gave an intriguing briefing on the ancient marine origin of the caves .
The excursion for the day ended well with a return trip back to Kilim Jetty and a final note of appreciation by Irshad who praised the group for their efforts in the planting of the mangrove seedlings and the significance it would eventually hold for the conservation of the mangroves and the people who depend on them for their livelihood.
Post By : Gary Ruben – Lepidopterist