Virtual tours the next step for Melaka butterfly, reptile sanctuary

MELAKA: An entomologist is depending on his family’s previous trade to produce documentary-style videos and professional pictures in his bid to survive the impact of Covid-19.

Melaka Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary managing director Gerard Wong Woon See said he started to think like a media-production company executive to tell the stories behind the sanctuary's collections and exhibits.

“I had no choice but to produce quality videos and pictures on virtual tours using my smartphone with the hope of coming up with documentaries during the live shows.

“My past experience in helping my father’s photo studio and newly-acquired video editing skill have helped me to produce quality videos in order to reach out to new audiences,” he said in an interview here Thursday (June 24).

Wong said the goal of the virtual tours via Facebook and Instagram is to generate revenue apart from educating visitors on various insect and reptile species.

He said the lockdown had made it difficult for the sanctuary to find alternative sources of funds.

“This is the first time in 30 years of operation that we have gone digital to generate revenue.”

Wong said he started three initiatives to keep the sanctuary afloat.

He said the first initiative was the adoption of butterfly chrysalides for adoption with prices ranging from RM25 to RM280 depending on the quantity of the pupae.

Wong said the second one was producing videos and pictures for basic virtual tours focusing on two topics - insects and crocodiles.

He said the basic package is priced at RM6.90 and aired every Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

“There is a premium slot every Saturday offering in-depth coverage showcasing, among others, live spectacled caiman hatchlings and other reptiles.

“Currently, we are giving a 50% discount for our premium slot at the price of RM15 per viewer,” he said.

Wong said 26-year-old sanctuary manager Qurratu Aín Rohaminordin is the host of the shows that are narrated in Bahasa Malaysia.

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