Ibrahim Seddiqi (centre) cutting the ribbon with Syed Hussin Hafiz (second from left) to launch the Kampung Dew Fireflies Carnival. Looking on are event organising chairman Datuk Rosli Hussin (left) and other committee members.
AS NIGHT descends, the serene riverbank of Sungai Dew near Jeti Kelip-Kelip in Kampung Dew slowly unveils itself as a refuge for the firefly colony.
Popularly known among the locals as “Christmas trees”, it is used to describe the fireflies gathering in clusters around trees beside the stream.
State Tourism Malaysia director Ibrahim Seddiqi Talib said it was essential for everyone to play their part in preserving the colony and its habitat as it would boost tourism for not only the villagers, but for the state as well.
“We are fortunate that the state has many popular eco-tourism destinations such as the Royal Belum Rainforest, Gua Tempurung and Taiping Zoo.
“With the promotion of this firefly colony, it would be another feather added to our cap,” he said in his speech during the launch of the Kampung Dew Fireflies Carnival in the village located about 20 minutes’ drive from Taiping.
Ibrahim Seddiqi added that the state hopes to draw at least 50,000 domestic and foreign tourists to come and see the fireflies this year.
“Accessibility is not a problem as our location is quite near the Penang International Airport, especially with the opening of the second Penang bridge in March.
“So far, there are no immediate plans to improve the infrastructure around here because I am confident that what we have to offer is good enough,” he said, referring to the boats and parking space available for tourists.
Apart from the fireflies, Ibrahim Seddiqi said the local crab noodles speciality is something that tourists cannot miss.
“One serving only costs about RM7. You can never find this delectable bowl of noodles anywhere else,” he said of the dish that is available at the jetty.
Bukit Gantang Umno division chief Datuk Syed Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal was also present at the launch.
Universiti Teknologi Mara student Zulhairry Bahari was among the visitors who went to see the fireflies that night.
“I am here with my extended family because we found out about this carnival and thought that it would be a good chance to see the fireflies.
“I have never seen them in real life before and I am really excited about it,” said the 24-year-old who lives in Matang.
Secondary school student Fatin Nadhirah Mohd Zaitun, 15, was also there with her family for the first time.
“I live nearby and since we moved here in February, we have been hearing many good things about the fireflies.
“I thought it would be nice to see them, after recently reading about how the firefly colony in Kuala Selangor is facing constant threats to their habitat,” she said while waiting for her family’s turn to board the boats.
Visitors who plan to view the fireflies can do so from 8pm onwards.