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November 11, 2010

Fireflies Sanctuary gazetted to deter illegal farming activities

ELAN PERUMAL and STUART MICHAEL at the Selangor State Assembly

THE firefly sanctuary at Kampung Kuantan in Selangor has become a protected area after its 1,104ha land was gazetted as restricted zone by the Selangor government.

State environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong told the state assembly yesterday the area had been gazetted under Section 48 of the Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) Enactment 1999.

She said the gazetting was implemented from July 2, 2009 and the area covered the river banks and river reserves.

"The move was in line with the state's aim to preserve the unique fireflies in Kampung Kuantan," she said, in her reply to a question from Saari Sungip (PR-Hulu Kelang).

 Unique: The firefly sanctuary in Kampung Kuantan is gazetted to keep the attraction alive. 

Wong said the fireflies had been under constant threat from farmers who had been carrying out activities along the river banks, including planting oil palm and banana trees.

"They have also been chopping down nipah branches to use its leaves to weave attap roofs," she said.

She said the state had received feedback from environment groups and the public on the dwindling fireflies.

'We are concerned about the illegal activities that have been going on along the river banks and nearby areas.

"With the gazetting exercise, we hope to prevent illegal activities including farming and jungle burning in the area," she said, adding that the move was also aimed at protecting the quality of the river water.

Besides that, Wong said LUAS would be putting up notice boards at strategic spots to warn the public against being involved in illegal activities in the protected zone.

As part of the move to promote the firefly sanctuary, Wong said, brochures would be distributed to visitors.

"We hope to protect the fireflies and keep the attraction alive since this is unique to the state," she said.

After Wong's reply, state assembly speaker Teng Chang Khim told exco members to keep their replies short and adhere to assembly regulations.

Source: The Star



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