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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wildlife Seminar by Second Year Students of Bachelor of Environmental Management

In collaboration with PERHILITAN and Malaysia Nature Society.
Now I realised why people said that you won't get bored in university. Of course you will still feel bored if you do not want to engage in all the events held (no matter it requires entrance fee or not). There are really LOTS of them around the university which need your own alertness to find them out because for some courses students are compulsory to organise events open to all students and most of them are free of charge. The main problem is sometimes we have to find it out ourselves due to limited publicity from the students organising the events.

I came across this Wildlife seminar two days before the actually event was held. This seminar was organised by second year students of Bachelor of Environmental Management (which is the other bachelor programme in my faculty besides the one I am enrolled in currently) as the final project for the course EMG 4991 Environmental Management Seminar in which students were trained to give seminar or speech in a formal way conducted by Madam Rosta binti Harun. This form of communication skill is very important for environmental students as we are responsible in instilling the environmental awareness among the public using the most efficient way. It will give the public an impression towards us and we will be judge according to the way we talk and this leads to whether they will take our message seriously or not. The aim for this seminar which consisted of 10 presentations was to raise awareness among university students about the endangered species of wildlife in Malaysia. It could be an eye opener to many people towards wild life in Malaysia (not really to me as I watched a lot of wildlife documentaries with my grandma when I was a kid, haha).

They invited Madam Rahmah Ilias, Assistant Senior Director of Biodiversity Conservation Division in Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Peninsular Malaysia (or we called it PERHILITAN in Malay) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as one of the VIPs. She has worked with the department for 10 years (which she considered as not very experienced compared to others who work with wildlife for a even longer period). She gave really useful comments and informations on each topic and that was really impressing that she knew each species very well! The 10 endangered species that were in the spotlight were (Google images):

Malayan tiger (Panthera Tigris Jacksoni)
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCATS)
Source: http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/02/23/stop-putting-the-squeeze-on-tiger-territory-says-uw-alum-now-chief-scientist-with-world-wildlife-fund/
Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus)
Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Source: http://aws-s.com/english/topics/detail.php?id=top163
Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
Source: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/sumatran-orangutan
Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus)
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center
Source: http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/sun-bear-helarctos-malayanus/
Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica)
Save Pangolins
Source: http://www.discoverborneo.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=21,7,2,17,18,23,13,16,3,12,15,14,20,8,24,10,5&search=about
Pygmy elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)
Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Center
Source: http://www.indietravellers.com/blogs/the-lower-kinabatangan/
Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Source: http://doubutsuiine.tank.jp/iine/?p=2651
Sea turtle (Chelonii / Testudines family)
Turtle Conservation Society
Source: http://www.planetdiveholidays.com/resorts/tanzania/mafia-island/
Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
Sungai Dusun Rhinoceros Conservation Center
Source: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/rhinos/images/17994065/title/beautiful-sumatran-rhino-named-ratu-photo
Hornbill (Bucerotidae family)
Belum-Temengor Hornbill Conservation Project
Source: http://exploreandnature.blogspot.com/2012_09_01_archive.html

I believe many of us know a little or more about these precious species of wildlife in Malaysia. All of them are listed under the redlist of the International Union for Conservation of Nature which has given these species the status of vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered (these are the degree of vulnerability towards extinction). There is poaching activities to satisfy the market for exotic accessories (coat, necklace, ishoes etc.), food (meat, paw, egg etc.), medicine (gall bladder, scale, horn etc.) or even pets. Besides that, the logging and clearing of forest render these poor animals no place to take shelter and no source of food, causing them to wander into human residential areas and thus leading to destruction of crops or threatening the safety of livestocks. This will again cause more hunting of these animals to reduce the so called 'problems' raised by these wild animals. These are the two main factors that drive wildlife towards extinction in Malaysia. Their death is either caused by the direct killing or the indirect one which is the loss of habitats.

The government and non-government organizations have done a lot of things to prevent the extinction of these species including implementing wildlife protection acts, setting up wildlife conservation sanctuaries, education and the list goes on. However, poachers are still laying their hand on these creatures until the last one is taken down. The reason is simple: there are markets, there are money-earning opportunities, there are the chances to get rich by just one shot. The destruction of forests is also driven by human's greed towards wealth that Nature is exploited to the maximum limit that all the resources available are being sucked dry in the name of development. Yes we are just normal people who have never seen the deforestation or the poaching process with our own eyes, but there are some little things that we can do to contribute to this bigger aim which is to prevent the extinction of exotic species which roam only here in South East Asia. Their extinction will indicate the forever lost of one member from the natural ecosystem. The simplest thing that we can do is to say NO towards any wildlife-related products as it is ILLEGAL to purchase or consume any part of the animals or else you will be one of the contributor to the black market of wildlife trading. Besides, avoid forest wood product, turn to recycled materials or commercial wood such as rubberwood to lower the rate of cutting down of primary or secondary forests. In addition, sign petition! Just a click on the internet to voice our opposition towards actions that would destroy the natural habitats of wildlife! Last but not least, volunteer yourselves in conservation projects which are held from time to time in respective sanctuaries all over Malaysia. Just Google the location and make a decision to do it this coming semester break. Being part of the efforts in conservation and preservation of flora and fauna in Malaysia has become a relative easy task compared to those days. So why not do it now?

With our mascots - the tiger and the orangutan!

P/S: Speaking fluent and correct English is crucial in conducting a presentation as we have to sound confident to convince others about our findings on the topic. But a thorough research on the topic is also important so that we are ready to face any question that might be thrown by the floor. We might make some mistakes or miss out some points that we should know regarding the topic. However, I think it is really unforgivable if we are unable to answer questions which have the answers stated in the brochures given by the presenting group. This will show that we do not take the presentation of knowledge seriously. So, as conclusion, sufficient preparation can be more important than the preparation to show our commitment towards the issues.


  1. Hi Wendy, I am a current Lower 6 student in Jit Sin. I saw this blog thru ur post in the Jit Sin's group. I'm interested with this two courses (Environmental Management and Environmental Science and Technology). But my question is, this two courses required Biology or Physics actually? Can students taking Physics go for this 2 courses? Looking forward to ur reply. thanks.

    1. Hi Jack, am glad to know that you are interested in this two courses!
      Environmental Management and Environmental Science and Technology are two different courses. The first one is more to policy, management and law which requires less scientific knowledge while the latter is all about sciences and technologies. For environmental management, only for the first year you will do experiments and the rest of the years you barely touch sciences. If you are good in all Biology, Physics and Chemistry it is an advantage for environmental science because environmental science is about everything in the environment. It is totally ok if you did not take biology or physics in your pre-university studies but you have to work a little bit harder to obtain the knowledge you did not learn before.

      Feel free to ask me if you have any doubt. Good luck! ;)

  2. Hi Wendy, glad to see your reply!
    In fact, I prefer Evironmental Science and Technology for my personal interest. I'm taking Physics & Chemistry for my F6 study in our beloved alma mater. So my question is, what's the requirement for taking Environmental Science in your school? And what is the threshold roughly to be selected by ur school to study in environmental science? I've plan to take courses about environmental science/technology/engineering for my degree level because I'm interested in this field. Wish to have ur reply.

    It's always warm to have seniors study in the field that we are heading for and we feel sincerely grateful for their selfless sharing. Thanks.

    1. One of the happiest thing that can happen to a environmental student blogger is to get reply from like-minded people like you! Hahaha.

      For your information, UPM is the only public university in Malaysia with the Faculty of Environmental Studies (I mentioned this a couple of times in my previous posts) but of course UM too provides environmental related courses. There are only a few universities provide these courses and you can take a look at the syllabus as they vary according to each university.

      As environmental science is a 'cool' course among other 'hot' university courses such as medical science, law, accountancy etc., I believe that the threshold is not something you should worry about (we are Jit Sin students after all! Hahaha, joking), just try your best to get the best pointer you can get. It shouldn't be a problem.

      Another thing I would like to point out is, environmental science is more like a overall rounder of sciences as basically we study almost everything from atmosphere, ocean, biotechnologies, environmental health, biodiversities and soil science etc.. You will find out unexpectedly interesting things in this course. I am happy that you have the determination in taking up this course instead of following the flow of 'mainstream' courses.

      By the way, is there anyone else who is interested in this course among your friends?

    2. Sorry for late reply Wendy. I have a great news to tell u! I have been selected for second batch of Matriculation and I'm going Tangkak, Johor on 11th June! Busy tidying and packing my luggage and that's why I have no time to online.

      Besides UM and UPM, which university still provide related courses? I have a short antenna haha.

      Yes I like those geo science, ocean and forest, that's why I'm a nature and sport lover. The Earth is amazing isn't? However my 'taste' makes me a rare species among my friends haha! I have friend who is interested in biotech but none of them likes environmental science. Gonna be alone there haha. Some of them are worrying about the job after studying this course.

      So is it easy to get into this course in ur school? Perhaps I'll write it as my first choice haha. I'll try my best get a good pointer. Hope that the result won't disappoint me.

      One of the happiest thing that can happen to a rare species is to have opinions from the elder rare species like you!

    3. Congratz that you got into matriculation! I think you have to do some online researches about which universities provide environmental science.

      Glad that you are brave enough to oppose the trend, haha. As we study a wide range of sciences in this course, I am sure that getting a job should not be a problem at all! And the green trend is rising, there will be demands for future environmental scientists.

      As I said earlier, there are not many people choosing this course, so yeah, you can imagine right? By the way I am not elder lah, I am still a junior... LOL