Malaysia123 Work in the forest to the sight of a bear ...


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Lure on NatureWhen he graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering, he did not imagine that one day, Ahmad Dzamir Dzulkiply would wake up in a forest to the sight of a bear having its meal a few metres away. Yet, that is exactly what happened to the University of Sheffield student.

As a researcher under the Conservation of Biodiversity Project, Dzamir goes to work with a grin on his face every day- because it is the path that he chose in order to live out his passion.

"When I graduated, I had that moment known as a career dilemma," says the affable and chatty 27-year-old research officer. "I could go on to work in the field I had studied, or I could do what I loved most. As you can see,'l chose the second option."

Dzamir shares that he has always loved the forest and nature; growing up, he was glued to National Geographic programmes. Now, surveying stingless bees under the biodiversity project, Dzamir gets to live out his dream every day.

"When I go into the forest to conduct my research, there is also so much more to take in. There are snakes, elephants, tigers, fruits, flowers," he says. "Imagine, you're walking in, and your partner says, 'Quiet, there's an elephant over there', or you see claw marks on a tree, and you realise a bear had passed by a while ago. It is so exciting!"

It wasn't easy moving into a completely different field, Dzamir admits. Besides his family's initial opposition to the idea, he also had to contend with his lack of knowledge.

"The first few weeks were very difficult. I had no background in biology, and I didn't even know stingless bees existed. My boss basically plonked a huge pile of books on my table and suggested I start reading them."

As he speaks about his job, his face lights up and his voice fills with excitement.

Now, however, Dzamir seems like an old hat as he expertly catches the bees in his net and talks about having been stung six times.

He is able to identify most species of bees and explain their preference for different environments.
"I'm planning to do this (work with nature) for the rest of my life. One day, I'm going to be on National

Anthony Gonzaga, on the other hand, seems to have followed a path that led him directly to his current career. Hailing from Laguna in the Philippines, Gonzaga completed his degree in agriculture in his home country. Realising that his true interests lay in working withfauna, however, he decided to pursue his postgraduate studies in zoology at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Geographic, with crocodiles, elephants or Whales. By the end of my career, I want to be the next Sir David Attenborough," he says, laughing.

"I opted to come to Malaysia not only because it is close to my home, but also because it has some of the oldest and most diverse forests in the region," he shares. Having been in Malaysia for more than eight years, Gonzaga is now completely at home in forests here, and speaks fluent Bahasa Malaysia.

Gonzaga has many opportunities to indulge in his passion for nature. Not only does he observe and study the behaviour of moths in forests, he has even designed a special trap to capture them.

Basing his design on the standard universal light trap, Gonzago came up with a modified battery and timer so that the tr, could function without electricity- a han, contraption in the forest. The trap is outfitted with an ultraviolet lamp to attract moths.

"Most people prefer butterflies to moths because they are so attractive. When you study the moths, however, you will see that there are so many things to learn from them," he says. "Every living thing has something to teach us about our ecosystem"

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