Malaysia: Sand mining hurting firefly population in Kuala Selangor

The Star 13 Feb 18;

PUTRAJAYA: Selangor needs to be wary of sand mining activities near Kuala Selangor as it is affecting the population of fireflies in the area, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said such activities should be done at least three nautical miles away from the firefly’s habitat.

“Fireflies feed on a certain type of snail that is found on the soil. When there is sand mining or sand stockpiles, it will destroy the snails.

“These will cause the firefly to go extinct because its source of food is affected.

“It is important that we preserve our fireflies, as it is both a tourist attraction and an indicator of the mangrove area’s health,” Dr Wan Junaidi told reporters after launching the International Symposium on Coastal Erosion and Environ­ment 2018.

He was responding to claims by Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Irmohizam Ibrahim that sand mining activities in Kampung Kuantan over the past year had affected the habitat of fireflies, contributing to its dwindling population.

Firefly watching is one of the biggest tourist draws in Kuala Selangor, which is about a 40-minute drive away from Kuala Lumpur.

Selangor urged to do more to protect fire flies in Kuala Selangor
HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN New Straits Times 13 Feb 18;

PUTRAJAYA: Selangor has been urged to be more sensitive in addressing issues surrounding the extinction of its famed fireflies in Kuala Selangor.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the state should understand that sand mining activities in a range of three nautical miles from the insects habitat, could affect the flies, commonly known as lightning bugs.

"Even more, if the sand stockpiles are left with a kilometer of their habitat. This is because the insects would lose their source of food.

"These insects largely feed on a special type of snail which is found on the soil and if the sand stockpile covers the ground, their source of food is definitely disturbed and they would go extinct," he said.

Wan Junaidi was speaking to reporters after the launching of International Symposium on Coastal Erosion and Environment 2018 (ISCEE), here, today.

His comments came in light of the recent revelation of a local Malay daily which reported that sand mining activities in the state, had affected the habitat of the fireflies.

The report said the insects habitat is in the verge of extinction due to the excessive sand mining activities carried out in Kampung Kuantan since last year.

Kuala Selangor member of parliament Datuk Seri Irmohizam was quoted as saying the sand mining activities in the area, had caused the trees there to be destroyed, hence the fireflies' natural habitat is ruined.

Wan Junaidi said there is an important need to preserve the bugs mainly because it is an indicator of the of the country's mangrove health, apart from being a tourist attraction.

"I am not blaming anybody but the state-government should know better on preserving and conserving the nature, including the insects," he added.

He adds the ministry is currently drafting the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) which will take into account all environmental issues including development matters which affects the environment. This will also cover the fireflies and its habitat.

On the Symposium, Ean Junaidi said, the ministry had released an updated National Coastal Erosion Study which found that 15 per cent of Malaysia's coastline had experienced erosion.

In addressing this, he said the government had allocated RM624.5 million in an effort to reduce erosion and its related damages.

"This involves beach nourishment, construction of breakwaters, barriers and revetments.

"These project’s seek to benefit 45.38 km of coastline involving 250,000 people and to protect loss of public property up to RM75 million," Wan Junaidi added.

He said the three-day synposium beginning today, is aimed at providing a platform to share expertise and experience to find the best methods in mitigating coastal erosion.