Malayan Nature Journal Special Edition 2019
The Malaysia Nature Society ( MNS) today is one of the oldest NGO’s in Malaysia that was established in 1940 just before the outcome of the great World War II that swept into Malaya( Malaysia now). The society was formed by a group of like-minded British residents who were much involved in the civil service administration of Malaya by the British and each were driven by their passion for their love in natural history and Malaya’s own unique habitats, its people and wildlife. 1920s to 1940s, vast swathes of Malaysian forests were to make way for rubber plantations, one of the key economic engines of the British Empire and the global automotive industry. News of these forest devastation and losses were also highlighted in the media back then through press and radio programmes. There was also an opposite force or a conscious objector who were very much against the destruction of forest and it’s wildlife in this early period, where a sole British individual by the name of Theodore Rathbone Hubback, the younger brother of the renowned Malaysian heritage architect A.R. Hubback- (Ipoh railway station, Jamek Mosque,etc) Hubback engaged with the ruling British administration during these period and fought selflessly for the protection of Forest and wildlife. He is considered as the father of wildlife conservation in Malaya and was instrumental in setting up a wildlife commission (known as Jabatan Perhilitan in Malaysia today) for the Taman Negara.
Introduction of MNS in 1940’s
The founding members of MNS are made up of 3 highly passionate naturalist (similar today’ Sir David Attenborough) comprising of Mr.Edward Oswald Shebbeare, Mr. Sandy Edgar and Mrs.Gladys Le Mare, and other members were their subscribers to their journal –The Malayan Nature Journal (MNJ), which is produced every quarterly each year (subscribers were comprised of Malaysians too).
Shebbeare, was then the Chief Game Warden in the Malaya’s King Edward National Park( now known as Taman Negara) who recently arrived into Malaya in 1938 and after serving considerable years in India’ civil service. Edgar, who is a planter, but an avid ornithologist or bird lover, and while Le Mare, a wife to the Department Head of Fisheries. The MNJ started its publications in early 1940 and the journal relied of postal delivery to most of their members/subscribers station around in Malaya, and also abroad. As the MNJ gained popularity amongst the nature and wildlife enthusiast, and soon after their 7th produced publications, the Japanese forces swept into Malaya. The British subjects were rounded up and were interned into war camps mostly in Changi prison, Singapore and the society and the journal ceased publication during this period, but not entirely...
The Malayan Nature Journal Special Edition 2019
The journal is a second series edition, based on history of early pioneers in conservation, looking into their works, records and legacies of these individuals that served in Malaya and Malaysia’s past.
There are 5 featured articles, including past history of MNS publication features, letters and noteworthy notes prepared by our contributors, who are members of MNS and Nature Conservation community partners who have spent immeasurable days and hours researching into these topics deemed academic, studying various documented periodicals and past accounts of these heroes, champions and great pioneers in Malaysian conservation.
The historical account presented in this MNJSE 2019, was academically reviewed by one of our astounding MNS honorary member- The Earl of Cranbrook, Dato’Sri Garthorne Hardy, who is based in UK and the publication committee members in MNS. Lord Cranbrook and the editorial team undertook close 2 years into making of this special edition publication.
The contributors themselves of these articles themselves today represent the champions of conservation but remained humble in their nature.