The Habitat Hub is the joint bulletin of The Habitat Penang Hill and The Habitat Foundation. There is always so much going on at The Habitat that we felt that it was really important to create a place to capture it all! This monthly e-newsletter is a way to chronicle recent events and important milestones for both organizations and to highlight upcoming promotions and activities for our friends and supporters. We hope that it will also provide attractive reasons to plan your next visit!
Every visit to The Habitat is helping to generate funding to support activities and initiatives related to biodiversity conservation in Malaysia. In the newsletter you will find articles and updates related to the non-profit work of The Habitat Foundation. The Habitat Hub is emailed to our Inhabitant members and subscribers. Anyone can sign on to our free mailing list. Simply fill in your email address in the form at the bottom of our website. You can access all previous issues of The Habitat Hub below.
In the October issue of The Habitat Hub we celebrate the official submission of the nomination dossier for the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve by the Malaysian Government as a candidate site under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. This recognition of the island’s unique natural and cultural heritage will help to establish a strong foundation for nature conservation, biodiversity research, and sustainability initiatives in Penang moving forward.
– Our latest publication, Orchids of Penang Hill.
– Get a sneak peek of the new Environmental Literacy Course we are developing for students aged 10-15.
– THF is supporting an important new initiative to formulate a National Action Plan for the Conservation of Small Apes for Malaysia.
For some of us, this image conjures up childhood memories of gently flowing forest streams, crisp cool water at our feet and the soothing sound of trickling water. Sadly, many Malaysians will not have had this experience. Clean rivers are a rarity these days. Instead, Malaysian rivers have come to resemble … drains. This is how we have come to regard them. We expect them to magically transport away rubbish and dilute pollutants which flow from agricultural areas and industrial zones. We rely on our trademark high rainfall to flush away waste and to magically replenish the lakes and dams that supply our homes with water. But what happens if the rains don’t come? This month, we observe World Rivers Day to remind ourselves that rivers are a lifeline to us and to all life forms. We must strive to value and protect rivers as well as their forested catchments.
The potential for ecotourism to make a positive and sustainable contribution to conservation in Malaysia has always been undeniable. However, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has really challenged both sectors. The Habitat Foundation, in keeping with our Conservation and Sustainability pillars, has teamed up with Society of Conservation Biology Malaysia Chapter to organize a two-part web forum in which we take a critical look at how we can all play a role in building back better and really making nature-based tourism a force for positive change.
It has been a great month at The Habitat Penang Hill! The park opened its doors on 10 June and it has been so refreshing for all of us to reconnect with nature once again and warmly welcome visitors to the hill. It might be our imagination but the sky seems bluer, the breeze feels cooler, flowers smell sweeter and the calls of birds sound brighter! The Habitat Penang Hill is now open from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm. Although we are gratified to have collectively come out of a very difficult time, we are not being complacent. We are enforcing strict protocols to comply with the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia and the Penang state government.
Today, on World Environment Day 2020, The Habitat stands in solidarity with the United Nations Environment Programme in this appeal to all of humanity to realise that we are living in truly exceptional times. Our planet continues to be assaulted every day by our activities. This has never been more apparent than in the past year when the impacts of climate change have been chillingly displayed. The way we live is depleting the life source of the earth. We continue to rob nature of its riches and burden it with our waste. There is time yet to act but it is only a narrow window. We cannot afford to squander it. Nature is sending us the message that to care for ourselves we must care for nature.
World Bee Day on 20 May 2020 is observed to spotlight the urgent need to arrest the alarming decline of bees and other species that are vital to sustaining healthy and viable ecosystems. Globally, researchers have been observing rates of species loss that are 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. By some estimates, close to 35 per cent of all invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, are seriously threatened by human impacts such as intensive farming practices, habitat loss, and widespread pesticide use. Insects and invertebrates are also being negatively affected by higher temperatures arising from climate change.
Greetings from all of us at The Habitat. As we continue to grapple with the dramatic and oftentimes mind-boggling changes to our everyday lives brought about by the current pandemic, it is increasingly easy to fall into a negative state of mind. That is why it is of utmost importance to continually remind ourselves to focus on the positive things in life if for no other reason than to maintain a sense of balance and to remain sane in these trying times. Whether it’s appreciating having more time to spend with family or simply enjoying the sunrise or sunset every day, we must remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that we can and will get through this.
Together with our fellow Penangites and Malaysians, we have closed our doors till the end of the month as part of the collective response to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus now known as Covid-19. Across Malaysia and around the world, bold and decisive measures are being taken to face the grave threat that this virus poses to us all. Now more than ever, we must stand together as a community and as a people and each and every one of us must do our part to help in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. At the same time, we must not forget that there are many in our community who are more vulnerable than others and we must do what we can to help them as best we can.
This year, through our foundation, we are expanding our impact by channelling support to restore degraded ecosystems, strengthen protected areas, research threatened species and engage communities in rewilding urban landscapes. We are investing in sustainability initiatives and providing specialized training for front-liners in collaboration with our strategic partners, and at The Habitat Penang Hill, we will continue to promote greater environmental awareness. Together we can make a difference. Thank you for your continued support of The Habitat and the work we do which is helping to generate funds for greater conservation impact.
All of us at The Habitat Penang Hill were greatly honoured by the visit of KDYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and KDYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah to The Habitat Penang Hill on the 21 December 2019. Daulat Tuanku
In person, Dr Jane Goodall seems tiny, and she appeared all the more so as she stood before the enraptured audience of over 2,000 people that had gathered from near and far to attend her talk at Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra, Universiti Sains Malaysia on 23 November 2019. Yet, when she began to speak with great humanity and passion about conserving nature and protecting our living planet, it was clear that we were in the presence of a giant of conservation.
With little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into the world of the wild chimpanzees of Tanzania. Her fearlessness and adventurous spirit would lead her to blaze a trail that has enabled many female biologists to follow in her footsteps. Jane has long been one of the most clear and unwavering voices advocating for wildlife, local people, environmental protection, and urgent actions to address the deepening climate crisis. This week, it is our great privilege to host Dr Jane Goodall in Penang.
Few individuals have given as much to championing the need to address the threats facing biodiversity and the environment as Dr Jane Goodall. Already an icon of conservation for her pioneering work on wild chimpanzees, for the last 20 years, Dr Jane has devoted her energy to inspiring environmental changemakers all over the world through her Roots & Shoots youth-led action programme. This November, she is visiting Penang for the first time to bring her message of hope to you. The Habitat, in partnership with Roots & Shoots Malaysia, and with the support of Universiti Sains Malaysia and the Malaysian Primatological Society, is honoured to invite you to a special public talk at Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Happy Malaysia Day Habitat Hub readers!
It has been an exciting month for us with the re-opening of our main entrance and the introduction of new packages. We hope that these developments brings rise to a more tailored, immersive and memorable experience with our much loved rainforest. We hope to see you soon at The Habitat Penang Hill!
James Hayter is one of Australia’s most respected landscape architects whose work is centred on revitalizing the way in which urban environments are designed. As the founder and Director of Oxigen Landscape Architects, Architects, Urban and Industrial Designers he is leading a movement that is changing the way cities are planned in order to make our living environment more conducive to improved health, well-being and productivity. On 18th August 2019, he will be giving a talk on “Landscape Architectural Design for Nature Conservation & Education – A Perspective of Australian Indigenous Cultures”.
The Penang Hill Festival is a celebration of all the best things the hill has to offer – some timeless and familiar, some fresh and exciting! The Habitat is proud to join the Penang Hill community in showing visitors to the hill a great time! Catch some of our free talks, visit our booth highlighting biodiversity and ecosystem services, and learn more about the effort to nominate the Penang Hill UNESCO Biosphere Reserve!
This image of flying foxes was recorded by biologists from
Project Pteropus from Rimba. Their ongoing research, which is partially supported by The Habitat Foundation, seeks to better understand the role flying foxes play in pollination in order to enhance awareness and support for this threatened species. The International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2019 is about nurturing awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues. Biodiversity refers to all life on earth. It comprises a vast number of organisms linked by complex relationships that are part of the productivity of our living planet.
Biodiversity is all around us. Under the rafters. In the treetops. In your driveway – reminding us that we share this habitat, and we have a collective role in keeping it live-able! Come 26 – 29 April 2019, Penang will be among 150 cities around the world engaged in a friendly global competition to see which cities can come up tops in terms of the number of observations made of native biodiversity. The international City Nature Challenge is both a celebration of the biodiversity in our backyards as well as the role citizen scientists can play in collecting data on flora and fauna.
For the March school break we are organizing some special programmes for the whole family at The Habitat. On 23 March, learn more about our under-appreciated pollinators with Dr Cyren Wong from Monash University Malaysia who will be here to give us insights into the world of butterflies and the role they play in our living environment. At 2.00 pm there will be a public Habitalk entitled The Butterflies and I: Malaysian Butterflies and their Conservation. Register early to secure your place.
As we farewell the year that has just passed, we look forward to an exciting year ahead with many new projects and collaborations lined up for both The Habitat and The Habitat Foundation! Despite the devastating landslides of November 2017, with your support, we overcame the challenges faced and managed to have a very successful operational year. The Habitat remains committed to connecting all our visitors and Inhabitant members to the majestic rainforest of Penang Island and facilitating encounters with the fascinating biodiversity within it.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of you for being part of The Habitat community. We wish you a bright start to the New Year and look forward to seeing you again soon on Penang Hill! ~ Allen Tan, Managing Director, The Habitat
The Colugo Zip is the latest addition to The Habitat’s Malaysian rainforest discovery experience comprising of 5 zip lines, 1 abseil and 1 rope bridge. Named after the Sunda Colugo aka The Malayan Flying Lemur, the Colugo Zip offers visitors a new way to marvel at the beauty of the Penang Hill rainforest – from an aerial perspective. Visitors will experience gliding from tree to tree through the rainforest canopy like a Colugo. Our specially trained Sky Rangers will take you on a journey through the treetops allowing you to experience the rainforest on a whole new level.
Our Shared Habitat is an exhibition that celebrates the timeless beauty of the Malaysian rainforest and the complex relationships between all living things that have emerged here over millions of years. It reminds us that we are all a part of nature, not apart from it. Our fate is intertwined with that of all living things. A sustainable future begins with each of us and the choices we make each day! The Exhibition concludes on 28 October 2018.
August is the month in which we celebrate what it means to be Malaysian. In addition to our multi-cultural Malaysian society we have also inherited a wonderful array of natural ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Some of this diversity is being showcased in the two Habitalks on Saturday, 11 August 2018. We have two Penang-born nature enthusiasts, who, because of their enthusiasm for their subjects, have come to be regarded as experts in their own right. Rexy Prakash Chako will share his fascination for the orchids of Penang Hill, and Cheong Weei Gan will open your eyes to the delightful diversity of moths that are often right under our noses or hovering under our porch lights!
The hills and the coast of Penang have always been important to Penang’s communities. The beautiful biodiversity-rich forest of Penang Hill extends to lowland dipterocarp forest and the coastal zone of sandy beaches and mangroves of Penang National Park. They are beloved recreational areas and provide essential ecosystem services while supporting local economic activities. Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) is leading the Penang state government’s initiative to nominate this area as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with funding support from The Habitat Foundation and The Habitat Penang Hill. Joining the World Network of Biosphere Reserves would provide a powerful impetus for future efforts to achieve greater balance between nature conservation and development.
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This July, the hill will come alive with an unmissable array of events, exhibitions and activities in conjunction with the 1st Penang Hill Festival! The week-long festival is spearheaded by Penang Hill Corporation and offers a splendid opportunity to explore the natural and historical heritage of the hill. This Habitat Penang Hill is doing its part by offering Habitalks and walks, and other rainforest activities! Scroll down to view our planned activities over the festival. Be sure to plan your visit and come experience the hill in a whole new way!
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This May, we celebrate mothers of all species at The Habitat Penang Hill! It is a great month to visit The Habitat as we have a special promotion till the end of May 2018. Treat your mum to a special lunch or coffee at The Habitat Cafe! Spend RM80 or more in a single receipt and you are entitled to a 50 per cent discount off Habitat merchandise.
22 April is International Mother Earth Day. On this day we remember that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. It also recognizes our collective responsibility, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.