An orangutan in Borneo (Credit: Aini Hasanah Abd Mutalib)
Do you know that the orangutan is one of the four great apes in the world, and can only be found in the wild in Malaysia and Indonesia? Have you ever heard about gibbons, the singing apes of the forest? Or the elusive slow loris, a species that might appear slow and boring to some, but fascinating at night? Also, have you ever seen proboscis monkeys while cruising along a river in Borneo, with their unusual and unmistakable large nose, brown fur and long tails?
This century has seen a rapid decline in habitat quality, driving a vast number of animal species to the brink of extinction. As we speak, the main threats to wildlife and the environment are caused by habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, illegal trade, excessive development, poaching and others. With these anthropogenic threats, at no other point in history has the issue of wildlife conservation gained as much importance as now. Hence, it is an utmost necessity that we educate our children and the next generation about the importance of wildlife conservation. One of the ways of doing this is through children storybooks that can be provided in schools. Through drawings, figures, texts, stickers and diagrams, we can engage the attention of young people around the issue of wildlife conservation at an early stage of their lives.
The advantage of having a storybook on primates is that children can take them anywhere as their learning companion, even without internet, and enjoy the book together with their parents or other family members. This can also reduce education gaps, especially in rural and urban-poor areas.
The stories will be presented with colourful illustrations, and adopt comical ways to attract the attention of children. We plan to publish the book in both Malay and English, so that more target areas can be reached. We truly hope that through the books, wildlife conservation awareness can be nurtured from a young age in order to ensure a brighter and sustainable future of the natural resources on our precious earth.
GEN is supporting Malaysian Primatological Society co-founder, Aini Hasanah Abd Mutalib, a GESA 2018 participant from Malaysia, in her efforts to produce, promote and distribute this storybook, through the project Malaysian Primates Story and Activity Book. These books, a tool to promote primate conservation, will be donated to rural and urban poor communities in Malaysia. Learn about other projects by GEN members here.