Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Personal International Day of Biodiversity

May 22nd 2010 was the International day of Biological Diversity (Biodiversity). I had completely forgotten about it until the late evening. What if I was aware of this day when I got off the bed? What can I do? What does this day mean to me or to those around me? 
My only simple answer is that all of us depends on the biodiversity around us for the air we breathe, the food we eat, natural medicine that heals us, the beauty for us to admire and the economic value for a nation that depends on eco-tourism.

So, what did I do on this day?

Thankfully, I had an opportunity to head out on a kayak on this day in the afternoon to check out the biodiversity on this island. And this is what I had been waiting for after the long period of dry season on Langkawi. The awakening and the full bloom of White Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Niveum).

If you google this orchid species and the word Langkawi, you will find some websites  had highlighted Langkawi is home to the Paph. Niveum. Therefore, it is not a secret anymore. However, where can you find it? heh, heh...Secret...

In the usual areas where this species of orchid were found, it did not seem to appear yet. I was beginning to worry that this species will suffer due to lack of rain, extreme heat and prolonged dry season on Langkawi. 

Under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Paph. Niveum is listed under protection of CITES Appendix-1, which prohibits commercial trade unless seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, and transported in sterile containers are not subject to the provisions of the Convention only if the specimens meet the definition of "artificially propagated" as agreed by the Conference of the Parties.

After paddling for a short while along this island, I was looking very carefully on the rocks. I was ecstatic to see a clump of Paph. Niveum leaves among the scrubs on the rocks. I started taking pictures. Bobbing up and down sitting on the kayak was a challenge to take sharp pictures. 

It seemed that my eyes were beginning to adjust to the images of this orchid and then shortly, I began to see more of this species!! In full bloom!!
The actual view of Paph. niveum. Can you spot it?

Paph. Niveum zoomed in.

The dash of heavy rain on previous days also allowed other plants to flower too.
Some sort of creepers. Need help to id this.

This creeper plant has tiny flowers. 

Some sort of orchid?? Need help to id this.

A Bamboo family. 

A rock taken off the wall by a massive root wrapped around it.

Some weird tree. 

With weird looking fruits. Need help to id this.

Also fauna like Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus Salvator) and:
Rock Thrush?

Kayaking back to the shore, I was smiling from ear to ear after having seen them. I did not return empty handed.

Everyday is biodiversity day. This day was dedicated since 2002 by United Nations  to remind the entire homosapiens on this planet the importance of our biodiversity around us. That is why we have so many of these: World Environmental Day, Earth Day, Earth Week,  World Wetlands Day, etc...


  1. is that trash that you collected? to help clean up the env? good job!! so brave to paddle out to sea on a kayak alone.


  2. Hi Monyet King,

    Hi TC;
    Yup... trash-lah.. it is hard to ignore when my kayak approached them. I imagined them as "little people" floating on the water, waving for help and waiting to be "scooped up". As long as they are not too huge to be carried on the kayak...and not too yucky. I had pulled out a baby diaper in the mangroves before... also a pouch bag with a wallet and condemned handphone.

    Too bad for those large population of "little people" stranded on those small islands and beaches. They were just too much & heavy!

    This morning, my guests commented that one of our beaches were "cleaned". how embarrassing!

    It is nice to paddle solo and leave the "reality" behind. I need such doses of natural healing once in a while.


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