Sunday, July 25, 2010

How Many Jellyfishes We Got?

The storm clouds were approaching fast before the start of the operation and Langkawi folks had already gathered at Kuala Cenang jetty awaiting the VIPs.
As usual, the VIPs were late and the leader of the pack, Pak Man went ahead and started the briefing before their arrival. Pak Man was a representative from KPSP (Kumpulan Pengurusan Sumber Perikanan) of Langkawi who helped organised the fishermen and their boats in this operation and as well as an advisor to all of us. Since there were no marine experts, Pak Man was our only source of information for the jellyfish habitat and behavior. He seems to be the experienced one.

Pak Man shared his knowledge on traditional treatment on a jellyfish sting. Rub the banana peel over! That will relieve the pain. I don't know what is the rationale behind this, however, this is from the experiences of our fishermen. They are the ones out there and experienced  ones besides the marine experts. Pak Man cautioned us all that we must never ever pour tap or mineral water over the sting.

More than sixty people turned up for this event and it was a good number. There were hotel staff, jet ski operators, tour boat opertors and government agencies such as the police and bomba (Fire Department). The operation kicked off about 11:30am after the arrival of the VIPs. The boats headed out to Cenang Beach and we scout the area between Pelangi Beach Resort and Underwater World. 
Scooping nets were used

One of boat with the special net equipment

A jet ski cruising past some swimmers while keeping an eye on jellyfishes to be scoop out

JPA (Jabatan Pertahanan Awam)/Civil Defence Department 
The boat with the special net

Scooping out a jellyfish

Our first jellyfish scooped out

Good thing about today's weather which was drizzly and cloudy after the downpour. However, the visibility of the water was very poor, about less than 5m. The operation stopped after 1pm for a break before continuing after 2:30pm. While back to Kuala Cenang, all the harvest were gathered together.

A bucket full of brown jellyfishes (no idea of its species). This type of jellyfish is the most common one found here.

Pak Man picked up a jellyfish (ampai-ampai in Malay) and according to him, this is the most dangerous one among all. This one was scooped out by the boat with the special net. Unidentified species, therefore I would call it as the notorious one.

The notorious one in the aquarium.

Part of the notorious one's tentacles stuck within the fishing net.
Tentacles at close up
Pak Man demonstrating tentacles is harmless on the palm but NOT on the other side of the palm. 
Please don't try this at home!

Another unidentified species of a white jellyfish caught in an aquarium
Leaders of the pack during the press conference: Pak Man (left) and Osman (right). Osman is our representative for Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi. Kudos to them!

More than hundred jellyfishes scooped up, big and tiny ones. We questioned how such operation would be effective and will that clean up our seas here. Such operation will not clean up the jellyfishes for sure. At least, such operation would create awareness among the locals and tourists. The most important of all, we must know what sort of jellyfish species in our waters here. Next objective is to proof the existence of box jellyfish with the involvement of the locals and authorities.

We were glad to have the fishermen came together to assist. They are the buddies of the marine experts.

Next operation will be tonight (25th July 2010) from 8pm to midnight. From Pak Man's experiences, he told us that the night operation is more effective.  

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Ops Jellyfish

The relevant Langkawi's authorities had finally decided to take action with the escalation of victims stung by jellyfishes lately.
LADA (Langkawi Development Authority) collaborated with the Hospital Langkawi, fishermen, beach hotels and of course, our beloved Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi to hold talks and "cleaning up" operations. 

Hospital Langkawi conducted two talks on how to manage and treat jellyfish attacks to the public recently. Due to lack of publicity, the response to the first talk was appalling. The second talk this week had received a better response with fifty over people. During the talk, they revealed a shocking statistic on the number of victims within the month of July 2010.

Their statistic stated from 1st July to the third week of July, a total of 185 cases of jellyfish stung reported, 12 people admitted, an average of 10-20 cases per day and no death reported. The affected area was mainly in Pantai Cenang.
The speaker was a medical assistant and he presented the following:
1) The mechanism of nematocysts
2) Recognising the signs and symptoms of a jellyfish sting
3) Dos and don'ts when administering first aid the victim. This is a very important reminder: NEVER EVER POUR TAP OR MINERAL WATER ON THE STING. This will trigger the stinging capsules and will make the condition worse. 
4) Treatment and management

Unfortunately, no one in the room could provide the exact facts on the jellyfish species and the dangerous ones that can be found in the waters of Langkawi. However, they were quick to  rule out the existence of Box Jellyfish and the Portuguese-man-of-war in the waters of Langkawi. We were told that the Fisheries Department could not even provide the details on the number of species. Seems like there is lack of research done on jellyfishes in Langkawi. Or perhaps the facts are classified information?

Well, whatever the reasons, this Sunday 25th July 2010 will be a great opportunity to find out what sort of species out there in the water. This Sunday's event is the second operation to "clean up" the jellyfishes in the sea. The first one was held on July 17th as a trial run. 

This event of scooping up any jellyfishes spotted in the sea will involve fishing boats, the public, relevant government agencies, LADA and MNS Langkawi.

Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Kuala Cenang

How effective this operation can be? 

1) Another blog report from Thai Box Jelly Fish

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Malaysian Rainforest Realm

Are all scorpions poisonous? Why do scorpions glow under a black light?

What enables a gecko to hang outside down from the ceiling or any other surface?

Which animal makes the distinctive 'Tok, Tok, Tok-Eh' call heard at night in cabins near forest edges?

Wish to know more?

You can find simple and easy to understand answers from this Malaysian produced book.

Book Title: The Malaysian Rainforest Realm, Fascinating Facts in Q&A
Authors: Dr Ghazally Ismail & Salina Ghazally
Published by: Marshall Cavendish Editions
Retail Price: RM70.00

This fun nature book is easy to read and digest. Very simple, general, non technical and with colorful pictures. 

The focus of this book is on our Malaysian rainforest and its flora and fauna.  The contents are divided into sections: Forest Environment, Lower Plants, Higher Plants, Invertebrate Fauna, Reptilia, Amphibia, Birds and Mamalia.

A great book for school teachers, nature guides, school kids, nature educators, etc. This is its first edition published this year. So far, I only discovered a tiny weeny error in one of its pages in labeling the names with the correct pictures.

I found this one and only book by chance in Popular Bookstore in Alor Setar, Kedah. If I can find this in such a place, I am very sure you can find this in any bookstores in Klang Valley. Or perhaps you may want to wait for its second edition after they had rectified the error.

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