Marine conservation organization goes on a
first-of-its-kind mobile marine education nationwide tour

SELANGOR, 7 February 2022
– The MareCet Research Organization (MareCet) is commencing a mobile marine education programme called the “Whales On-The-Wheels Nationwide Tour”. The travelling exhibition, sponsored by Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), is intended to promote awareness about the ocean, Malaysia’s marine mammals, marine life and ecosystems, as well as marine conservation issues.

Established in 2012 by Dr Louisa Ponnampalam and Fairul Izmal Jamal Hisne, MareCet is the first and only non- profit NGO in Malaysia that is dedicated to the research and conservation of marine mammals in Malaysia. While MareCet actively conducts research on marine mammals, the organization also focuses on outreach activities to further improve marine literacy and stewardship amongst fellow Malaysians. The Whales On-The-Wheels nationwide tour is one of MareCet’s latest large-scale outreach initiatives, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. This programme was inspired from The Whale Bus programme hosted by The Marine Mammal Centre in Sausalito, California, USA.

Whales On-The-Wheels will feature a ‘Whale Truck’ – a vehicle decked out with various educational materials and exhibits exploring different marine topics. The nationwide tour will travel to all 11 states and 2 Federal Territories in Peninsular Malaysia throughout 2022 and 2023.

“Although Malaysia is a country blessed with extensive coastline and incredible marine biodiversity and ecosystems, many Malaysians remain largely disconnected from the sea and may not know much about the connection between people and the sea, and the importance of the sea to people, or of the presence of local marine species, including megafauna such as the marine mammals.” said Dr Ponnampalam, the Executive Director of MareCet.

“At MareCet, we believe in the power of education and capacity building, and in their important roles in shaping a civic-minded society that understands and appreciates our marine environment; an environment we rely heavily upon, whether or not the fact is realised. Our Whales On-The-Wheels mobile marine education nationwide tour was developed for these very reasons.”

The Chief Executive Officer of YSD, Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin, is excited with the opportunity for YSD to be playing a part in the exhibition tour and said, “Children, youth and even adults in Malaysia lack the knowledge of our precious marine ecosystems and megafauna; and their importance to climate change and global sustainability. This educational travelling exhibition funded by YSD will showcase the importance of conserving the oceans of today, highlighting the numerous, colourful, and precious marine life living in them, including the delicate balance that binds them all together with us. Our collaboration with MareCet is especially necessary as these interactive and engaging outreach programmes proactively reach out to and teach audiences from all walks of life who would, in turn, contribute towards the survival of all marine life, including marine mammals such as dolphins, porpoises and whales.”

Whales On-The-Wheels aims to make learning and knowledge transfer about marine mammals, the marine environment, and their conservation accessible to everyone in Malaysia. The tour will benefit Malaysians and those living in Malaysia across a wide range of ages, targeting children to adults, community leaders, coastal dwellers and tourists. For the tour, MareCet intends to also focus their reach on more rural communities, in places such as small towns and coastal areas with sizable coastal communities present.

Through this traveling exhibition, visitors will be able to engage with MareCet’s highly experienced dolphin researchers and gain insights into the research and conservation work that the organization does in the country. The tour will feature an immersive ‘Be A Dolphin Researcher’ experience corner, where visitors get to learn about how researchers identify dolphin individuals. Visitors will also learn about how important sound is to dolphins and porpoises, which includes taking a listen to the sounds produced by various species of marine mammals, including those recorded in Malaysia. Visitors to the Whale Truck will get the chance to take a close look at preserved real- life marine specimens and examine small marine specimen samples under the microscope at the mini marine laboratory.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in other interactive and engaging educational activities at the tour, including:
• Diving into the world of marine mammals in Malaysia at the curated photo and skeleton gallery
• Discovering the ugly truth about marine debris and microplastics in our ocean by playing the materials decomposition game and mini “trash-sure” hunt
• Trying their hands at “The Sea and Me” station

There will also be a fun photo booth whereby visitors can get creative and take their best poses with fun and colourful ocean-themed props.

The first tour segment of Whales On-The-Wheels will commence on 12 February 2022 until 21 February 2022, making its first stops at Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan, Klebang and Bandar Hilir in Melaka, and Johor Bahru, Pontian, Batu Pahat and Muar in Johor.

The full schedule of Whales On-The-Wheels February 2022 tour will be announced on MareCet’s social media pages soon. To stay up to date on the tour dates and locations, please follow MareCet’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok accounts. Do look out for the ‘Whale Truck’ and catch them while they tour around Malaysia, for an enriching experience about our country’s marine environment in an unconventional way.

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Last Updated:
17 Mar 2022
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