Friday, 29 October 2010

Bravo Zulu!

A pictorial update on the fortnight that was:

My last whole blood donation was on Tuesday, 12th October 2010. As you can see, it was a quiet afternoon at the National Blood Bank. I often wonder if the National Blood Bank is just another white elephant. Valuable though its services undoubtedly are, I imagine that the costs, both financial and environmental, of managing and operating such a large but under-utilised facility must be rather considerable. Perhaps it would make more sense for the Ministry of Health to improve the blood donation facilities in major government hospitals, and focus on developing a fleet of well-managed and well-equipped mobile blood donation units that could be deployed to malls, institutions and offices for Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives on a regular basis.

Bravo was resting in his boarding kennel at the vet's when I visited him on 9th October, 2010.

Bravo was discharged and declared ready to go home with me on Saturday, 23rd October 2010. He will live with me at the Bachelor Pad for the next 1-2 months until he makes a full recovery, after which we will try to trace his previous care providers, or alternatively, find him a good home. As you can see, there are metal pins sticking out of the surgery site on Bravo's left leg. It will take an estimated 1-2 more months for the fracture to heal.

Bravo has his first bath in ages. I had to be careful not to touch the metal pins in his leg while washing him. The vegetarian restaurants in my area have agreed to let me have their leftover cooked white rice for Bravo every evening, while my workmates have been contributing canned dog food, as Bravo does not eat kibbles. Since my priority now is to help Bravo gain weight and recover from his injuries rather than to change his dietary habits, I am giving him what he WILL eat, rather than starve him into eating kibbles (which is not foreseaable, anyway). Thank you to all our kind and generous friends whose contributions helped pay for Bravo's surgery and treatment.

There were 6 guinea pigs for adoption at the SPCA Animal Shelter when I was there on Saturday, 23rd Oct 2010. I found them so attractive and engaging that I kept going over to look at them in between bathing and tickwashing dogs and cleaning the kennels and catteries. However, I don't think the Rowdies would be good company for the guinea pigs, so I will not be able to adopt them.

Please help us spread the word to others who may be able to provide the guinea pigs with a good home. Guinea pigs are suited to living in apartments and small homes. They eliminate waste less frequently and in lower volumes than rabbits, are easy to feed and clean up after, and are vocal and sociable. With proper care, guinea pigs can live up to 7 years.

Guinea pigs with tufted hair are known as Abyssinians, although there is no reason to believe that they originate from Ethiopia or Eritrea, or that they live in abysses. I find the smooth-coated guinea pigs just as visually attractive as the Abyssinians. I wish I could bring all of them home without the risk of the Rowdies sending their rodent housemates into cardiac arrest.

These 3 semi-feral kittens were born in my office sometime last month. We have determined that they are the kittens of Gangster Mama, an orange-and-white tabby with an attitude, who I am still trying to capture for spaying. I am feeding them kitten food with deworming syrup mixed into the food, in the recommended doses for kittens their weight. My next step is to get them vaccinated, neutered and rehomed. Friends of my friends have already expressed interest in adopting rescued animals from me, and I consider that an enormous blessing. However, these 3 kittens are not properly socialised yet and growled like dogs when I tried to move their food bowl into the shade. That made me laugh so hard that I moved the bowl again just to hear them snarl.

Friday, 22 October 2010

A Cosy World Animal Day at the SPCA Selangor Shelter

As indicated in an earlier post, SPCA Selangor observed World Animal Day on Sunday, 17th October 2010 with a candlelight vigil and educational activities at our shelter premises.

We did not expect a huge turnout, as it was not a high-budget or heavily promoted event, but we did hope to be able to attract some potential adopters and new volunteers, which would of course be of greater value to us than a turnout of thousands of youths who come for the refreshments and entertainment, as we had at the World Animal Day celebrations at the KL Tower in 2008.

I was not disappointed by the turnout. Our World Animal Day celebration was a cosy affair which attracted volunteers old and new, potential adopters, actual adopters and first-time visitors to the shelter, including my friends Louis and Anthony and their children.

Cheery banners outside our Shelter's back entrance invite visitors to celebrate World Animal Day with us.
(Photo credits: Amelie)

Tealight candles for our vigil are available for a donation of RM1.00 each, while animal-shaped pledge cards, which I designed, are given out to those who donate pet food to the Shelter, purchase merchandise or make a donation on the said day.
(Photo credit: Leonard)

Clinic assistant Murugan (in goofy-looking dalmation headgear), Shelter staff Thim and Animal Inspector Danny help to set up the educational exhibition board on the morning of the event.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

We usually tickwash dogs in this HDPE water tank, but just for today, it's a Pet Food Donation Bin. I scrubbed the tank clean, dried it with a towel and brought it to the front area to collect donated pet food in. I was in good spirits even after scrubbing and cleaning the shelter for the past 2-3 hours in anticipation of visitors.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

This one goes out to little Ralf. May you be reunited with the Mama of Kitties-In-Sydney at the Rainbow Bridge.

This one goes out to Selena, Sonja and Sasha, for Pat, who had loved them and continue to do so.

This one goes out to Scoop, who brought his human servants Ellen and Tom many years of joy.

Reve may not have been an animal, but I think she would have been pleased to find a candle lit for her on World Animal Day.

If I look sombre in this photo, it is because I was thinking of all the animals I have loved and lost.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

Flickering flames of hope, for our dear departed animal companions. For they are gone from our touch, but never our hearts.

The visitors we received on that day were mostly interested in either adopting a shelter animal or volunteering at the SPCA. We almost fell over ourselves trying to persuade them to do either or both.

My friend Sasha came over to help me prepare for and tidy up after the World Animal Day celebrations. The afternoon was a warm and calm one, and we had the opportunity to bathe and tickwash all the Sick Bay Dogs, while Leonard and several new volunteers bathed and tickwashed the dogs in the Maternity and Mummy Kennels.

Kenny is a new volunteer and is passionate about helping animals. I hope he comes to the Shelter more often.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

An enthusiastic little man signs one of our pledge cards to hang on our wish tree to express support for animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

My friend Louis watches his animal-loving daughter as she hangs her animal-shaped pledge card on the wish tree.
(Photo credits: Amelie)

My cat-shaped pledge card affirms companion animals' rights to medical treatment when necessary.

A young family takes the time to learn more about animal cruelty, the five freedoms of animals and the advantages of a vegetarian diet at our exhibition corner.
(Photo credits: MingChien)

I think I may have found the perfect co-coordinator for my Junior Animal Rangers Summer Camp next year! Leonard is a natural with children and animals.
(Photo credits: MingChien)

"Here's lookin' at you, kid!"
A cheeky dog winks at Leonard, while her companion on the left asks to be let out to play.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

It's time for refreshments. A friendly cat meowed for some cake, and I broke large chunks off my cupcake and shared them with him.
(Photo credits: Leonard)

They like it! Who says cats can't taste sugar? These lovely kitties want to have their cake and eat it too!
(Photo credits: Leonard)

It's time to clear up and call it a day. In the midst of cleaning, Nicole and I strike a pose to show support for animal rights and protection.
(Photo credits: MingChien)

Come do your bit for animal welfare, or take some time to get acquainted with our adorable adoptables at the SPCA animal shelter any day of the week! We are open daily from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.!

SPCA Selangor Animal Shelter,
Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama,
68000 Ampang Jaya,

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Letter to the Editor: Aggressive macaque merely adapting to its environment

Letter to the Editor: Aggressive macaque merely adapting to its environment

I read with deep concern your reports, "Baby could have been mistaken for pet’s offspring" (Oct 8) and "Killer macaque still alive" (Oct 8).

Despite all the advice provided by environmental and animal welfare NGOs and the Wildlife and National Parks Department against the feeding and taunting of macaques and the keeping of macaques as pets, Malaysians continue to feed, tease or keep macaques while conveniently ignoring the fact that macaques are wild animals. We must remember that we can neither predict nor control the natural behaviours of wild animals.

Feeding macaques causes them to lose their fear of humans and see people and even automobiles as a source of food. Many macaques become casualties of road accidents because they venture too close to roads and highways, expecting handouts from cars. Teasing and playing with macaques may cause them to become aggressive, especially when they are cornered or when they feel threatened by direct eye contact. Urban macaques develop behavioural traits such as aggression towards humans, a very low fear of humans and scavenging in rubbish dumps (a potential source for contagious infections) to adapt to living near human habitation.

Shooting a rogue macaque is not a long-term solution to the problem of macaque aggression. As indicated by the news report, the male macaque may have been attracted to human homes due to the presence of a female macaque that was in captivity. Wild animals respond to stimuli such as the presence of food, threats, prey, predators and mates. As can be seen from attempts to control the population of other stray and feral animals such as dogs, shooting a dominant male animal is not a solution to the problem of aggressive behaviour and animal attacks, as another male in the pack will merely become more dominant and aggressive to fill the void created by the elimination of the alpha male. As long as humans continue feeding feral macaques and keeping macaques as pets (especially in areas with an existing macaque population), macaques will continue to breed and display adaptive and aggressive behaviour. As indicated in the report, "Bereaved mum fears again as macaques show up" (Oct 13), after Perhilitan had shot the macaque that was believed to be the one that had killed the unfortunate infant, other larger, more aggressive macaques began to show up in the area.

While I feel immense sympathy and sorrow for the bereaved family, for the reasons stated above, I believe shooting and culling to be actions which are ineffective at best, and downright harmful at worst. Malaysians must remember that the macaque population in urban areas became a problem due to human encroachment into macaque habitat, and our poor hygiene and waste management habits, which emboldened macaques to raid rubbish bins and enter human homes.

More practical long-term solutions to the issues of macaque aggression and overpopulation are to stop feeding, taunting or breeding macaques, to stop littering and to dispose of rubbish in secure receptacles. Further, captive and captured macaques can be sterilised to reduce aggressive behaviour and to control their population. Male macaques can undergo vasectomy while female macaques can undergo tubectomy, as both processes keep organs and hormones intact, which will help released macaques retain social skills and social hierarchies in their groups. Other prescriptions may involve the relocation of urban macaques. However, all relocation plans should cover habitat assessment and follow-up monitoring.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Come Celebrate World Animal Day with us!

SPCA Selangor Animal Shelter,
Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama,
68000 Ampang Jaya,

Sunday, 17th October 2010
10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.

October 4 was World Animal Day, but due to the fact that SPCA Selangor's Marketing and Communication team was too busy with outreach work for the entire month, we could only hold it this coming Sunday, 17th October 2010.

If you are passing through town, please do drop by the shelter, if only for a little while, to bring some cheer to the animals, or to contribute a little something to our Pet Food Donation Bin (my friends and I spent many hours cutting out the animal shapes, which I designed. Please come and get one! They are limited edition!) or to light a candle for a dear departed animal companion.

I will be lighting candles for: Ringo, Pepsi, Murphy, Angel, Walden, Shasta, Chip, Tigerlily, Scoop (Ellen's), Ralf (Cat-In-Sydney's) Sonia, Sasha and Selena (Pat's). If you would like me to light a candle for an animal companion who you have loved and lost, please let me know.

Here are some of the activities going on in the shelter this Sunday:

Candlelight Vigil: Memorial Corner
Tealight candles will be available for a donation of RM1.00 each, to be lit at our Memorial Corner in remembrance of all the animals we have loved and lost. For they may be gone from our touch, but never our hearts.

Pet Food Donation: Every Little Bit Counts!
Bring a contribution of dry or canned dog or cat food to the SPCA animal shelter and drop it into our Pet Food Donation Bin to help feed our shelter animals as well as animals that benefit from our Mission Help and community and council pound feeding programmes. Donors will be given animal-shaped cards to write their pledges or messages on, and the cards will be hung from the SPCA's Wish Tree for the duration of one month.

Adoption Promotion:
10 dogs and 10 cats in need of good homes will be highlighted each week for adoption at a special reduced rate. Will you make the choice of giving our adorable adoptables a second chance?

Educational Exhibition:
We will have educational displays and exhibits on the following topics:
- Responsible feeding, rescuing and ownership;
- Adoption success stories;
- Highlighted cruelty cases;
- The lowdown on animal shows and animal-tested products;
- International Meatless Week.

Even if you are unable to join us in our World Animal Day Celebrations at the SPCA animal shelter in Ampang Jaya, Selangor, please consider taking the following pledge to improve the lives of animals!

(Note: I drafted this for World Animal Day 2009)

1. I pledge to look after, protect and provide for all animals under my care; to arrange for alternative caregivers whenever I am away and to find solutions for boarding and rehoming should I find myself unable to care for my companion animals any longer.

2. I pledge to vaccinate and neuter my companion cats, dogs and and small animals (e.g. rabbits and hamsters) and to educate my family, friends and co-workers on the importance of vaccination, neutering and obtaining necessary licenses for one's companion animals.

3. I pledge to gently advise neighbours who fail to provide proper care for their companion animals, and write to zoos, circuses, theme parks and other facilities that keep animals, in the event I witness any acts of neglect, ill-treatment or cruelty. If my advice should fail to bring about positive change in the treatment of the animals, I pledge to report the matter to the SPCA or relevant authorities such as the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

4. I pledge to assist the SPCA and animal welfare groups in finding homes for the animals under their care and advise my family and friends to spay/neuter their existing pets and adopt from shelters and pounds, rather than purchase from pet stores.

5. I pledge to live simply that animals may simply live. I will reduce, reuse and recycle more and use less fossil fuels and chemicals. I will dispose of hazardous materials such as paint, needles and cans with sharp edges carefully. I will use fewer plastics bags, polystyrene products and other materials that may pose a danger to stray animals and wildlife.

6. I pledge to be a more careful driver that I may avoid harm to animals that share our roads and neighbourhoods. I will provide all the assistance I can to animals harmed by traffic and people.

7. I pledge to vote against animal cruelty with my money. I will purchase and use only products that are cruelty-free and which do not cause animal suffering. I will avoid products that are known to have been tested on animals.

8. I pledge not to give animals as gifts unless specifically requested and chosen by the recipient. If I do get an animal as a gift, I will ensure that it will be vaccinated, neutered and given proper care. I will adopt from shelters, pounds and animal rehomers rather than purchase from pet stores and breeders.

9. I pledge to join or support wildlife protection programmes, animal welfare organisations and environmental organisations to educate myself on ways to reduce harm to animals and protect wildlife that are vulnerable to exploitation. Our collective voice and votes can help to change harmful governmental and corporate policies.

10. I pledge to opt for vegetarian food whenever I can. I will go vegetarian at least once a week. I will also actively look for alternatives to leather, suede, fur, honey, silk and ivory.

Happy World Animal Day, to all creatures great and small!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Having A Ball

The past month has been one continuous flurry of activity. I have been working really long hours despite my attempts to clear my backlog and my intention to spend less time at work. However, judging by the complexity of the cases I receive, it would be unfair and irresponsible not to spend more time on my assessments and on doing research. That Special Someone is of the opinion that the files came to me for a reason – the reason being that I have the ability, aptitude and passion to help those most in need of help. I like his theory and I hope to prove it correct.

Apart from work, I have been spending every weekend on volunteer work for the Malaysian Nature Society and for the SPCA, both in and outside the animal shelter. I had spent one of my days off, Thursday, 23rd Sept, coordinating an environment-centred Community Day at a welfare home for disabled and underprivileged children, and had later that night represented MNS and Global Animal Welfare Solutions at the MYZOO coalition forum on the welfare and protection of captive wildlife in Malaysia. I had spent another of my days off, Friday, 24th Sept, bathing and tickwashing dogs at the SPCA shelter before going off to climb Gunung Ledang.

With the upcoming SPCA World Animal Day Celebrations at our shelter on Sunday, 17th Oct, and a Volunteer Appreciation Weekend Campout for Malaysian Nature Society regular volunteers scheduled to take place on 4th – 5th December, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for rest. Even my obligatory Sundays back at the parental home are packed with housework, spring cleaning, spot cleaning and gardening projects.

During a recent meet-up with my buddy Rangamal, she averred that in order to do all that I do, I probably have 48 hours in a day, when other humans are afforded just 24. I beg to differ. I informed her that if I had 48 hours, I would be able to do an MBA, an English Literature, an LLM in International Law and maybe a B Sc in Veterinary Medicine.

Anecdotal evidence has it that most people lie on their deathbeds regretting all the things they never did when they were alive. If I keep up my current lifestyle, I will probably end up lying on my deathbed lamenting the fact that I could have done less, and rested more.

30th September 2010: Latest Rescuee, Bravo

On Thursday, 30th Sept 2010, my buddy Melani spotted an injured dog lying near a road divider on the MEX Highway. As she was unable to stop her car to help the poor dog due to the high volume and speed of traffic, she called the SPCA emergency services for assistance. The SPCA, to their credit, arrived at the scene and picked up the dog with admirable promptness. When I called the SPCA to find out how the dog was, I learned that the dog had suffered hindquarter injuries and could hardly walk. The SPCA would have no choice but to euthanize him as they did not have the facilities to treat his injuries, and because they could not direct a large percentage of resources and manpower just to save one dog when there were hundreds under their care. Melani and I decided to take the dog under our care as it did not make sense to us to rescue a dog to have him put to sleep. Since he came to our attention, he would now be our ward. I drove like a rally driver to the SPCA to pick up the little dog for medical treatment, and was surprised and touched by what a sweet, affectionate and trusting little chap he is to let me pick him up and put him in my car (which he puked copiously in, but he really couldn’t help it, could he).

I brought the brave little dog, who Mel and I have since named “Bravo” for his courage and good nature in spite of the terrible pain he must be in, to my usual vet, Dr. Steven of Healing Pets Animal Clinic, Damansara Jaya. Upon an x-ray images being taken, we learned that Bravo had a complete fracture of the left leg and a fractured right hip. We agreed to put Bravo through surgery to fix the fractures and treat his injuries. Our plans are to allow Bravo to undergo surgery, treatment and boarding at the vet’s until the vet decides that he is fit to go home to receive home care, and after that, I will board him in my bachelor pad to save costs and in order that I may monitor his progress. Once Bravo is declared fit to go to a home, we will get him vaccinated and neutered and we will do our best to find him a good home. I believe this should not be difficult as he is a handsome, sweet-natured and intelligent little soul. Alternatively, we could try to trace his previous care providers (he was found wearing a collar) to find out what exactly happened. However, if we sense that Bravo had been neglected and would face more neglect if he were to return to his original caregivers, we would have serious reservations about letting him go back to the same people.

Financial assistance has been pouring in from our kind and generous friends, and Bravo successfully underwent surgery on his fractured leg on 7th Oct 2010 after the good doctor had determined that Bravo’s condition was finally stable enough to endure a major surgery. I visit Bravo as often as I can and bring him vitamins and supplements to aid his recovery.

Bravo could have been just another canine casualty of speeding traffic, but everything in the Universe helped him pull through. If he hadn’t been spotted by Mel, if our SPCA ambulance driver Samy had not acted quickly and sensibly, if I hadn’t gone to pick him up immediately after hearing of his injuries and if our Project Second Chance donors aren’t as giving and big-hearted – then we probably would have lost Bravo. And for that, Bravo, Mel, Project Second Chance and I thank you – the kind people who donate to the SPCA to ensure we could pay the salaries of caring and competent staff like Samy; the capable and sympathetic vets out there who make it their duty to rescue first and discuss bills and funds later; the good friends who trust me enough to contribute to Project Second Chance – our gratitude for you cannot be expressed in mere words.

As 4th October was World Animal Day, let us also take a moment to renew our pledges to drive carefully and mindfully in order to avoid harm to the animals that share our roads and neighbourhood and to provide all the assistance we can to animals harmed by traffic and people.

Happy Belated World Animal Day, with love from Bravo and all of us at Project Second Chance.

1st October 2010: Having A Ball

Our office had its annual teambuilding workshop and costume ball on Friday, 1st October 2010, which we had all looked forward to. I find the teambuilding and Code of Conduct refresher sessions unnecessary as we like and respect each other and are friends in and outside the office, but then again, it could be just my opinion. Still, as the photos below attest, we had a welcome break from work and enjoyed our little soiree in the evening.

Elementary lessons in muay thai (Thai kickboxing) to raise one’s spirits and to keep one’s old ticker pumping. The sound effects coming from my colleagues were pretty funny.

Games that focus on cooperation and collaboration were the order of the day.

A tantalising array of desserts during lunch to prevent us from fitting into our party dresses later in the evening.

The affirmation session brought us all big smiles and the warm fuzzies.

The costume ball was a riot. Assorted flapper girls, Bollywood beauties, and movie and fairytale characters added an element of glamour and fun.

I came as a jazz diva.

It looks like my unit has adopted the theme of Bollywood-meets-Gothic-Chic-meets-Sci-Fi.

So long and until we meet again at work on Monday!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Ascending Mount Ophir

25th - 26th September 2010: Ascending Mount Ophir

I learned at the grand old age of 12 that you can't avoid politics, even over the most uncontroversial, insignificant and apolitical of issues. And so it was no surprise for me to encounter the politicking, aggressive campaigning and alliances of convenience that came into existence just a month or two before the Malaysian Nature Society Annual General Meeting. As a committee member of the Malaysian Nature Society (Selangor Branch), being a witness to all the politicking that was going on only strengthened my resolve to be fair, ethical and responsible always, and to always keep my conservation and environmental education goals in sight even if everyone around me is getting disheartened or disinterested. As Plato put it, "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." And so soldier on I must, for the sake of the Society and for what's left our our wildlife and our natural environment.

The 63rd National AGM of the Malaysian Nature Society was held on Saturday, 25th Sept 2010, at the Taman Rimba Lagenda Resort, Gunung Ledang National Park, Johor.

Approximately 100 members turned up for the AGM. The results, though expected, did not generate much enthusiasm. Many members, including myself, either abstained from voting for a new President or merely voted for the candidate they disliked the least, rather than the candidate they liked better (because there isn't one). Still, the new President is backed by a dynamic and strong new council this year, consisting of people that the members love and respect. I trust that the new council will raise the Society to greater heights.

Our lodgings for the weekend consisted of very basic but satisfactorily clean and servicable huts in the National Park. I shared a hut with my buddy, Dr. Rangamal, or "Doc" for short.

Doing the full trek to the peak of Gunung Ledang, also known as Mount Ophir, seemed like the perfect remedy to the tedium of meetings and elections. My 12 other trek-mates thought so too. Note the preponderance of senior citizens in our group of trekkers! Well done, seniors!

Unusual-looking fungi that I saw on the way to the Water Source. I thought they looked a little like Magnum ice-cream bars with some of the chocolate coating chewed off.

Taking a break by the cold, clear stream at Sungai Segitiga.

"The trees are God's great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene."
~Leonora Speyer

Scrabbling up the rocky trail, which wasn't very steep yet at this point.

We had to either climb through the caves or over the rocks at Gua Kambing to get to the next checkpoint. I opted for the ladders through the caves because I like caves.

This is where strong tricep and deltoid muscles come in handy. The natural handholds and footholds are not always within reach. I was too short to reach the footholds, so I had to haul myself up onto the overhanging roots. Woe betide me should the root give way!

The only way up this rock face is by holding on to these ropes and climbing up. No safety equipment, no helmets. We earthy-crunchy types seem to thrive on living on the edge.

On your mark, get set, CLIMB!

Okay, fellas, you're almost at the top! Just a few steps more! There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Natural bonsai trees and shrubs at an elevation of over 1000 metres.

Sweaty, stinky and proud to have reached the summit.

The MNS Team of 13 is happy to have reached the summit (4,185 feet) after over 5 hours of climbing.

... And if this were Bollywood, the heroine would start rolling down the hill and her saree would keep on unravelling for 9 kilometres or so, and all the while the hero and heroine would keep singing without missing a beat, while random tea pickers and farmers (all at least one shade darker in complexion than the hero and heroine!) would dance and sing back up in mellifluous voices that sound suspiciously like Sonu Nigam / Udit Narayan / Lata Mangeshkar.

Lantana camara -- if only all invasive specie were this pretty!

A wild slipper orchid -- Paphiopedilum barbatum.

A tropical pitcher plant -- Nepenthes gracilis.

Elephant Rock! See the forehead and trunk?

We learned from our guide and the Park management that we may be the last group of trekkers to ascend Gunung Ledang, as the State Government has plans to close off the national park and mountain to the public.

This is a matter of grave concern to us, as many of my compatriots, like me, suspect that there may be plans to 'develop' the National Park for oil palm cultivation. Rumour has it that the state royalty has plans to construct a palace halfway up the mountain as well. If this were true, one can only imagine the accompanying environmental impact -- increased noise and light pollution, the construction of roads and sewage and waste disposal infrastructures and the increase in traffic by the royal family's entire entourage of official cars, servants and flunkeys.

We hope that there is no truth to the rumour. We hope that there are no plans to develop (read: destroy and damage) the National Park. We hope that any and all plans made in connection with the Gunung Ledang National Park are in furthering the cause of habitat conservation. And if they are not? Well, if they are not, then we will do everything within our power to raise public awareness on what is at stake, and campaign to protect, conserve and rehabilitate the mountain and National Park.

Because Gunung Ledang is worth saving, and worth fighting for.