malaysian naturalist, sept 2018
Under this initiative, those aged 18-30 have the chance to work directly with animals at Zoo Negara Malaysia (the National Zoo) under the Society’s KPA for Youth outfit, an offshoot of its School Nature Club (Kelab Pencinta Alam or KPA) programme.
MNS Executive Director I. S. Shanmugaraj says volunteering for nature is one of the best ways to nurture a nature-loving mindset, especially among the young, and this has been proven with the variety of programmes involving youngsters conducted by MNS over the years. From KPA camps on islands and forest fringes to participation in wildlife-themed public events like Raptor Watch, Pesta Sayap and the recent inaugural World Firefly Day, exposure to conservation in a fun and educational manner leaves an imprint on young souls. Now the leaders of tomorrow can go one step further by getting hands-on and dirty, by volunteering at the zoo and becoming an MNS WildFriend.
In the first of four scheduled sessions, conducted on 4th August, 30 youths aged 19-29 took on the task of sweeping common areas as well as cleaning out cages and wildlife enclosures (the smell!) while learning the basics about the wildlife, their conservation needs and animal husbandry. The participants also took part in a fun ExploreRace around the zoo compound and shared their experiences and thoughts with each other.
Shanmugaraj says the programme, which is sponsored by Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad and MNS’s Sahabat Beruang Matahari community action group, allows the Society to undertake its CEPA outreach efforts in a meaningful and beneficial way. “I hope Malaysia’s youths will take this opportunity to learn about, and assist in, wildlife conservation, so that we can create a community of nature lovers.”