Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Anilao Macro

Painted Frogfish - Antennarius pictus

Hypselodoris bullockii

Partner shrimp - Periclemenes sp.

Lissocarcinus orbicularis

Banded boxer shrimp - Stenopus hispidus

Saw blade shrimp

Mantis shrimp

Anemone crab - Neopettrolisthes maculatus (?)

Chromodoris willani

Reticulidia halgerda
Leaf fish
Blue-fin lionfish

Pygmy seahorse

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Langkawi Geopark

The pinnacle at Kilim, is the icon for Geopark Langkawi (Photo by Kamal Roslan)


LADA was established in 1990, brainchild of the former premier Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Its role is to provide the basic infrastructure and physical development of Langkawi islands for the purpose of enhancing tourism as the prime mover of the economy. Apart from that, LADA is also tasked with the socioeconomic development of the islands, mainly to encourage locals to participate in the mainstream development of the economy. Currently, LADA has a workforce of 270 personnel under 9 divisions, the latest of which is the Geopark Division specially set up to plan, manage and oversee the development of the Langkawi Geopark. Under the geopark program, LADA works hand-in-hand with UKM under a long-term memorandum of understanding initiated since 1996. While LADA provides the administrative backing, management and implementation efforts, UKM provides research and academic input towards the realization of Langkawi Geopark.

Geopark Development Plan

Langkawi Geopark has been planned over the last five years. Numerous studies and geological expeditions have been undertaken. Informational briefings were provided by LADA and UKM to various related and interested parties. A working paper was presented to the Kedah State Executive Council, chaired by the Chief Minister of Kedah, Malaysia and the Langkawi Geopark was officially endorsed on 31st May 2006. Henceforth, a briefing was delivered to the Prime Minister of Malaysia who chaired the LADA Board Meeting on 6th October 2006. The Prime Minister gave its full support for the development of Langkawi Geopark and sanctioned the move for its candidature for endorsement under UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks.

Geopark Management Plan

The Kedah State Chief Minister has agreed to chair the Advisory Council of Langkawi Geopark to monitor and provide necessary advice on overall development of the geopark. The Advisory Council is made up of members from various State Departments. The Langkawi Geopark will be directly managed by LADA through the Langkawi Geopark Division. This unit is manned by professionals in three main areas, namely geologist, administrative officer and infrastructure/facilities officer. The functioning of the geopark office is facilitated by four technical committees. The composition of each committee involves members of both the public or government sector as well as the private sectors and non-government organization. Government sector agencies include the Tourism Malaysia, Department of Heritage, Department of Muzeum, Department of Forestry, Department of Mineral and Geoscience, the private sectors and NGOs include hotel associations, tourist guides and tour operators. These committees, as and when necessary, shall also include individuals and activists in the field of environmental care, socio-economy, community development and culture.

Conservation of Natural Resources

Langkawi Island has a high potential for conservation of biodiversity and geodiversity. This is because of 99 islands that form this archipelago, only four are inhabitat, i.e. Langkawi Island (main island), Tuba Island, Rebak Island, and Dayang Bunting Island. Most of these islands are still covered by pristine lowland semi-deciduous forests, which harbour an array of diverse flora, fauna, geology and landform. Conservation of nature in Langkawi and Malaysia, in general, is based on the Forest Reserve concept. This encompasses forests that cannot be exploited for timber (non-productive forest, forest that can be exploited for timber, and recreation (production forest). All forests in Langkawi have been classified as non-productive forest. The National Forestry Department has declared three protected forest areas in Langkawi as Geoforest parks. Geoforest park highlights the geological components within the park area and emphasize on the balanced protection of geological and biological heritage. In addition, geoforest park also promote the area for education and recreation purposes.

A. Eurycoma longifolia or the ‘Tongkat Ali’ is a widely used as a commercial herbal drink and in traditional herbal medicine, B. Clorodendrum langkawiens or the ‘Pepanggil Langkawi’ is one of the endemic species in Langkawi found at the peak of Machinchang. C.
Horsfieldia irya (Penerahan pianggu) D. Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating macaques or the water macaques) are perhaps the only primate in Langkawi that can actively hunt for food underwater at the coastal plain. E. Trachypithecus obscurus (Spectackled leaf monkey) is one of the three primate species found in Langkawi. F. Calotes versicolor, is a common agamid lizard that graces the open space forest near human settlement (Photo credit: Norhayati A.)

Langkawi Research Centre

As one of the well known tourist destinations based the abundant natural resources, Langkawi needs a lot of support from research and development (R & D) to sustain its tourism industry. For this reason, Langkawi Research Centre (LRC) was established in 2002. It is one of the research centres of excellence in the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), administered by the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), UKM. The centre focuses on multidisciplinary researches, spearheading the goal of approaching sustainable development of ecotourism in Langkawi. Resutls of the researches conducted are presented to LADA and other agencies involved to identify various natural resource with high potential to be developed for tourism. At the same time, the LRC entity itself could become another tourist attraction in Langkawi. The centre is divided into three main programmes, i.e. Geology and Landscape; Biology and Marine; and Cultural and Local Tradition Programmes. LRC has chosen the approach to promote Langkawi as a Geopark for sustainable development of ecotourism, as it does not limit itself to conservation of natural resources, but it deals with conservation of the environment and landscapes, as well as development of socio-economic well being of the local community. The big move forward was marked by the endorsement of Langkawi by the Kedah State as a national geopark on the 31st May 2006, and subsequently declared as the 52nd member of the Global Geopark Network, which is a UNESCO initiative, on the 30th June 2007. Thus, Langkawi became the first global geopark in Southeast Asia.

Arguments for the nomination as a Geopark within the Global Network

Langkawi Geopark is the first geopark established in Malaysia and is one of the rare island geoparks in the world comprising 99 islands. Langkawi Geopark is the 52nd Geopark in the UNESCO’s Global Network of National Geoparks for several reasons including:

Langkawi Geopark possesses one of the most beautiful tropical island karst landscapes in the Southeast Asian region. This scenic beauty blended with its rich biodiversity has been Langkawi’s main tourist attraction. Knowledge on the origin of the limestone karst and the beauty of the landscape are the greatest assets to Langkawi Geopark to be shared with the rest of the world.

As the birthplace of the country and the surrounding region, Langkawi Geopark possesses the region’s oldest rocks and the most complete Palaeozoic geological history. Several Langkawi geoheritage sites are of regional importance and should be preserved for the future generations. These include several best-studied type sections, type localities and several other geosites of national and regional significance.

Langkawi Geopark possesses the most comprehensive evidences supporting the theory that this region originated from Gondwanaland that has experienced various tectonic movements. Such evidences include the many dropstones of glacial origin and cold-temparate fossil fauna within the Singa Formation.

The high geodiversity of Langkawi Geopark is essential to biodiversity of flora and fauna. Langkawi is situated in a transitional zone where the Malesian and the Indochinese floristic regions meet. Thus, the semi-evergreen tropical rainforest supports unique flora and fauna species, some of which are endemic to the island, particularly the limestone flora. Langkawi has a rich mangrove forest, flourished on limestone formation, which is a rare occurrence.

Langkawi has been a tourism islands for many years. It has all the necessary infrastructure and utilities to support any future development for sustainable tourism. Langkawi Geopark has been planned for the last five years. It has been endorsed by the Kedah State Government in May 2006 and strongly supported by the Prime Minister during the LADA board meeting on 6th October 2006.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slimy and ugly...really?

Rhacophorus reinwardtii - Reinwardt's tree frog (Maliau Basin, Sabah)

Rana siberu - Stream frog (Kuala Gandah, Pahang)

Rana hosii - Poisonous rock frog (Panti, Johor)

Polypedates macrotis - Dark-eared tree frog (Panti, Johor)

Nyctixalus pictus - Cinamon Frog (Maliau Basin, Sabah)
Bungarus flaviceps - Maliau Basin, Sabah. Bright n bold seems like a give-away to this snake but as one of the most venomous snakes here, it demands respect and admiration, preferably from a safe distance

Bufo quadriporcatus - at Kuala Gandah Nikon D70, AF Micro Nikkor 60 mm, Speedlight SB 800, F18, 1/125

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mabul/Sipadan at the wild side


Sunset over SWV, Mabul

Integrity....of the island ecosystem
Ducula bicolor - Pied Imperial Pigeon, a resident bird of Sabah

Egretta sacra - Reef Pacific Egret
Gekko monarchus

Birgus latro - Coconut crab

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sipadan/Mabul Marine Life

Pink anemonefish Amphiprion perderaion

Amphiprion sp.

Orbicular batfish Platax orbicularis

Hawksbill turtle


Seagrass filefish Acreichthyes tomentosus

Thecacera sp. (?)

Tambja morosa - Morose nudibranch

Glossodoris atromarginata

Hingebeak prawn Rhynchocinetes concolor

Striped cleaner prawn Lysmata amboinensis

Ornate ghost pipefish Solenostomus paradoxus

Halgerda batangas

Giant Frogfish - Antennarius commersonii

Giant Frogfish - Antennarius commersonii

Bumphead Parrotfish, Chlorurus oedema

Ornate ghost pipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus

Chromodoris reticulata