Google Street View Trekker on kayak around Malaysian coastline

News Release by Malaysian Nature Society (MNS)


Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday, 26th August 2014 –The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) today launched its most anticipated event in Malaysia, Paddle for Nature, a solo kayak expedition covering more than 2,000km of the Peninsular Malaysia coastline.

Starting on 9th September 2014 in Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan, the expedition will see MNS member Hari Raju, 44, paddling along the coast, and around the islands of Perhentian, Tioman and Penang, all the way to Kuala Perlis and ending in Langkawi.
The journey is expected to take two and-a-half months.

The aim of the expedition is to document the current state of the Peninsular Malaysia coastline, and to do this, the kayak will be outfitted with Google’s Street View Trekker, a first for such a mode of transport. MNS also hopes to create awareness about the importance of the country’s ocean heritage and efforts of “local heroes” in helping protect these treasures, as well as raise funds for future marine conservation projects.

MNS Marine Conservation Manager Faedzul Rahman said marine conservation faced a unique set of challenges due to lack of awareness about the importance of coastal areas and the threats they face. “It’s easy to see jungles being cleared and terrestrial degradation, but it is more difficult to show people that corals reefs are dying, turtles are no longer laying eggs on our shores and mangrove forests are being destroyed all around our country.

“Furthermore, there is lack of awareness about the impact this destruction has on our economy and ecology, the livelihood of coastal communities and the variety of wildlife whose habitat is linked to these coastal areas,” he said.

Through Paddle for Nature, MNS seeks to collate images and data about the country’s marine and estuarine areas, which may also be helpful to government agencies, other environmental organisations and interested parties in their efforts to protect Malaysia’s oceanic legacy.

Faedzul said in this effort, MNS was grateful for the support of Google in the use of its Street View Trekker camera system, allowing more comprehensive coverage of the coastline and ecologically important sites Hari will be visiting, including turtle sanctuaries, mangrove forests, seagrass beds, Marine Parks and nature reserves.

On its outreach programme, Faedzul said Hari and the MNS ground team following him would also be talking to “local heroes” on their conservation efforts, while MNS was also planning several events that would involve activities with the public. The sites for these events are Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan; Danga Bay, Johor Baru; Port Dickson; Lumut, Perak; and the finishing point, Langkawi.

“These events will involve schoolchildren, MNS members around the peninsula,
conservationists, scientists, in a variety of interesting and educational activities, and we hope the public will also come and join in the fun.”

He said the public could also show their support by contributing to Paddle for Nature’s Donate a Kilometre campaign. “From just RM10 per kilometre for individuals, and RM500 per kilometre for corporations, you can be a part of our efforts to save the country’s marine treasures, and also spur Hari on,” he said.

Donations can be made at MNS’s headquarters in Jalan Kelantan, Bukit Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur, or via the Malaysian Nature Society account, HSBC 305-035099-101. A minimum donation of RM50 will also entitle the donor to a tax-deductible receipt.

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