Purpose of porpoise book to raise awareness among children


Dr Louisa (centre) with the young readers and friends of environmental conservation, at the book launch in Langkawi.

THE MareCet Research Organisation (MareCet) has launched a children’s storybook titled Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin? to promote the natural wonders and beauty of Langkawi.

Written by renowned Malaysian marine mammal scientist and conservationist Dr Louisa S. Ponnampalam and illustrated by Malaysian visual artist Celine Tay Chuan Mei, the book aims to inspire young minds and foster their passion for marine conservation.

The launch at the Langkawi Unesco Global Geopark Discovery Centre was attended by Sime Darby Foundation chief executive officer Dr Yatela Zainal Abidin, Dr Louisa who is also MareCet co-founder and executive director, and Muzaffar Zoher of the Geopark Discovery Centre, Geopark and Sustainability Tourism Division of Langkawi Development Authority (Lada).

The storybook takes young readers on a journey of MareCet’s extensive marine mammal research and conservation initiatives, spanning over a decade on the island.

The narrative revolves around Cheriya and Aluna, a mother-calf pair of Indo-Pacific finless porpoises, as they explore the Langkawi Archipelago.

These porpoises, often overlooked in conservation efforts, were intentionally chosen by Dr Louisa as the focal species of the story.

Despite their elusive and inconspicuous nature, the porpoises are the most commonly occurring marine mammal species in Langkawi’s waters, and by highlighting the two as the main characters, the story aims to raise awareness about this “underdog” species and the threat of its extinction.

The author with her book Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin?The author with her book Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin?

Dr Louisa hopes that readers, unfamiliar with finless porpoises, will be inspired to seek more information about them after reading the book.

She expressed joy in bringing Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin? to fruition, extending her gratitude to Sime Darby Foundation for its support since August 2021.

“Their sponsorship played a pivotal role in MareCet’s research and conservation efforts for marine mammals in Malaysia, particularly on the beautiful island of Langkawi.

“This book stands as a testament to their collective mission of raising awareness and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards,” she said.

Dr Yatela said, “Yayasan Sime Darby believes that environmental education should begin at a young age to have the most significant impact.

“We are proud that MareCet ensures children from all backgrounds have free access to this educational resource, aligning with Yayasan Sime Darby’s commitment to inclusivity.”

“Together, we aim to break barriers and ensure that knowledge about our precious ocean life is widely accessible to children from all walks of life, empowering them to be part of the solution,” she added.

Although fictional, Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin? is based on scientific facts and MareCet’s research across the archipelago.

The storybook includes simple instructions for fun activities that readers can engage in, making it both a delightful bedtime read and an educational journey.

Its target readers are children aged seven to 12.

The ebook version of the book is available for free download on MareCet’s website (www.marecet.org/e-book).

Paperback copies of the book are also available for purchase on MareCet’s Shopee page at RM40 each.

All proceeds from the book sales will support MareCet’s research and conservation initiatives.

In addition to the book, Sime Darby Foundation’s support has enabled the expansion of MareCet’s Whales-on-the-Wheels interactive mobile marine exhibition.

This exhibition has already reached over 4,700 individuals across seven states in Malaysia.

The 2022 tour covered 30 locations, including Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor (west coast), Perak, Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

The whale truck will visit the east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor (east coast) before heading to Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur in October.

By the end of the year, the initiative will have engaged 20,000 individuals, spreading awareness about marine mammals through the Whales-on-the-Wheels programme.

MareCet is the first and only non-profit non-governmental organisation in Malaysia dedicated to the research and conservation of marine mammals.

Established in 2012, MareCet strives to work to protect marine mammals and their fragile habitats, provide a platform for building local conservation leadership, work with stakeholders to optimise conservation outcomes for all involved and promote ocean stewardship within Malaysia.

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children , storybook , Langkawi

   

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