FRIM joins IUCN firefly conservation efforts

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KUALA LUMPUR: The representative of Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) participated in a workshop on assessing the conservation status of fireflies in Southeast Asia and Europe, which is the first of its kind.

FRIM participated in a workshop organized to conduct firefly assessments from Southeast Asia and Europe, held at Parque Biologico de Gaia, Portugal, last month.

FRIM said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) firefly red list assessment workshop was attended by the institute’s head of entomological research, Dr. Nada Badruddin.

Held June 19-20, the workshop, organized by IUCN, the IUCN Survivors Commission (IUCN SSC) Firefly Specialist Group (FSG), with support from Fireflyers International Network (FIN), also hosted experts from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and the United States.

“This assessment of the conservation status of fireflies in Southeast Asia and Europe is the first to be carried out and it is a positive development, particularly for firefly conservation efforts in the region and in Malaysia in particular,” FRIM said in a statement yesterday.

He said fireflies were insects with their own attraction value and were an icon of tourism in Malaysia, Bernama reported.

He added that fireflies, mainly of the genus Pteroptyx, thrive in areas of tidal rivers and in mangroves, mainly concentrated in the Southeast Asian region.

In Malaysia, fireflies are a tourist attraction that contributes to the socio-economy of the local community and yet their habitats and populations continue to face various threats related to development, land use and pollution, among others, FRIM said.

The institute has monitored the firefly population in Sungai Selangor on a monthly basis since 2006 and reported that the population was declining and conservation efforts needed to be continued and intensified.

The IUCN Red List is a global source of information on the conservation status of animal, fungal and plant species and is an important indicator of the health status of biodiversity on earth.

Not just a list of species and their status, the Red List is also a way to inform and improve biodiversity conservation efforts as well as policy changes related to natural resource conservation.

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