'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin?' highlights Langkawi’s natural assets and the importance of marine conservation among young ocean stewards.

Langkawi, 27 June 2023 – The MareCet Research Organisation (MareCet) today successfully embarked on an immersive journey through the wonders of Langkawi Archipelago's natural beauty with the release of their children's storybook titled, 'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin?'. The book, written by renowned Malaysian marine mammal scientist and conservationist Dr Louisa S. Ponnampalam and illustrated by Celine Tay Chuan Mei, an up-and-coming Malaysian visual artist, is intended to harness the power of storytelling and nurture young minds to become passionate advocates for marine conservation.

The event held at the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark Discovery Centre was attended by Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yayasan Sime Darby; Dr Louisa S. Ponnampalam, Executive Director and Co-Founder of MareCet; and En Muzaffar Zoher of Geopark Discovery Centre, Geopark & Sustainability Tourism Division, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA). The launch event was supported by LADA, who provided the venue and catering for this momentous occasion.

The book takes young readers on an exciting journey against the backdrop of MareCet's extensive marine mammal research and conservation initiatives spanning over a decade on the island. The story follows Cheriya and Aluna, a mother-calf pair of Indo-Pacific finless porpoises, as they venture around the captivating Langkawi Archipelago. The usually elusive and inconspicuous finless porpoises are the most commonly occurring marine mammal species in Langkawi’s waters and were intentionally chosen by Dr Louisa as the focal species of the story, as they are often overlooked in conservation. Dr Louisa considers them an “underdog” species as they don’t capture people’s hearts with leaps and breaches like how dolphins do, thus having Cheriya and Aluna as the main stars of the story was aimed at raising their profile as a marine species that is threatened with extinction. The idea is that if one has never heard of finless porpoises, after reading the storybook, they may go and look up more information about the species!

"It brings me great joy to bring 'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin?' to fruition. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to YSD for their support since August 2021. Their sponsorship has been instrumental in our continued research and conservation efforts for marine mammals in Malaysia, especially on this beautiful island. This book we are publishing today is a testament to our collective mission of raising awareness and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards," said Dr Louisa.

Speaking at the event, Dr Yatela enthused, "We are thrilled to be supporting MareCet's important research and conservation efforts for marine mammals and contribute to the publication of this children’s book. YSD truly believes that environmental education must begin at a young age for it to be most effective. We are also proud that MareCet is adding their voice to YSD’s chorus of inclusivity by ensuring that children from all backgrounds are provided with free access to this educational resource. Together, we can break barriers and ensure that knowledge on our precious ocean life is widely accessible to children from all walks of life, empowering them to be part of the solution."

While fictional, the storybook is based on scientific facts and information derived from MareCet's research efforts around the archipelago. It goes beyond entertainment to promote environmental awareness and cultivate an appreciation for nature in Langkawi with credible and accurate references while being child friendly. Containing simple instructions for fun activities which readers can engage in while reading the book, 'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin?' serves as both a delightful bedtime read and an educational journey to nurture and ignite the passion within children of 7 to 12 years old who are poised to becoming tomorrow's ocean stewards.

The 'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin?' e-book is free and available for download on MareCet's website. Echoing YSD's resounding call for quality access to education, the research organisation is committed to allowing children from all walks of life to embrace the wonders of Langkawi. Physical paperback copies of the book are also available for purchase on MareCet's Shopee page at RM40 each. All proceeds from the book sales will go towards supporting MareCet's research and conservation initiatives for marine mammals in Malaysia.

In addition to 'Mummy, Where's My Dorsal Fin', YSD's support for MareCet also allowed for the expansion of MareCet’s Whales-on-the-Wheels interactive mobile marine exhibition that has reached more than 4,700 individuals across seven states in Malaysia. The three legs of their tour in 2022 covered 30 locations in Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor (west coast), Perak, Penang, Kedah, and Perlis. The tour continues this year, where the whale truck will be calling in along the east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor (east coast) in July, with the finale tour in Selangor, Putrajaya, and Kuala Lumpur in October. By the year’s end, 20,000 individuals would have been touched with the Whales-on-the-Wheels initiative.

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Last Updated:
28 Jun 2023
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