I was disturbed to read some days ago that frogs from the Tasek Chini are no longer singing. They have almost disappeared. This may not seemed strange to you, in fact, you may not have any idea where Tasek Chini is . After all, it "was once" a beautiful large mass of freshwater lake in the tropical forests of Malaysia. It "was once" because it now no longer that beautiful as it was, with pollution levels reportedly 56 times higher than is considered healthy, and worse, this is right inside the tropical forest.
The frogs aren't the only ones disappearing. The fishes, cobras, pythons are also diminishing in numbers. Weeds called the "Cat's Tail" have proliferated, snuffing out important sunlight that would allow organisms to grow.
This is really worrying enough for some concrete action to be taken to revive the ecosystem and habitat. In retrospect, how can action be taken to protect the environment, or a delicate ecosystem such as Tasek Chini, or any other lake in the world?
Here at Tasek Chini I read about the Sustainable Development Network or SUSDEN which is running the Save Tasik Chini Campaign since mid 2004, and these are remedial steps taken by the authorities and the Non Government organisations in concert to step the decline:
1. introducing programs to empower the aborigines called Jakun living in the surrounding areas of the lakes so that they continue to live there with their traditional resources that are linked to biodiversity conservation.
2. reduce the industrial pollution from nearby oil palm estates that bring fertilisers and pesticides into the lake
3. reduce the pollution that comes from newly developed training camps for National Service that have been built near the lake
4. disallow opening of land within the forest near the lake
5. stop illegal logging activities near the lake
6. Collect and remove fallen trees and weeds that choke the lake
Most importantly, all is education to children on the importance of the lake and introducing them to the lifestyle of the aborgines living off the land surrounding the lake. These aborigines lived in harmony with the animals, plants and environment and they ensure the survival of the lake.
Now if you do have a lake in your area where you are living, ensure that the frogs still sing. Frogs are declining due to habitat destruction, contamination, predation and genetic pollution. Will the frogs sing again at Tasek Cini? We do not know yet, but there is one thing we do know. Irregardless of where we are, if we save the frogs, we may be able to save our lives too.
Frogs are a good barometer of the environment.
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