About Irshad

Irshad Mobarak a Malaysian Naturalist, Conservationist and Educator.
Irshad Mobarak a Malaysian Naturalist, Conservationist and Educator.

Irshad Mobarak – Naturalist – Conservationist – Educator

Irshad Mobarak has been a keen naturalist since his childhood. Inspired by the lives and deeds of pioneer naturalists and explorers such as the legendary Alfred Russel Wallace and the renowned botanist , writer and environmental campaigner, Professor David Bellamy, Irshad left his banking career and walked down the path of Natural History.

Irshad is the founder of  JungleWall Tours a company that specializes in wildlife tours in Peninsular Malaysia, with a focus on the Natural History of birds, butterflies and rainforests. He undertakes the training of budding naturalists and conservationists and is himself an active participant in scientific expeditions.

With an illustrious career spanning over 25 years, Irshad has also appeared in a number of international documentaries such as National Geographic Channel’s ‘Mysteries of the Malaysian Rainforest’. That documentary was the first ever to record on film the courtship ritual of the Great Hornbills, in which a trio of  Great Hornbill males engages in a titanic clash of beaks to court a female in waiting.

He was featured in a short vignette on Discovery Channel’s’ The Wedding Ceremony of the White Bellied Sea Eagle’. Irshad also appeared with Ian Wright, the hugely popular host from Globe Trekker, which was aired on Travel and Living Channel. He was featured with another popular TV travel host Toby Amies on the documentary entitled The Rough Guide –’Trips of a Lifetime’. Irshad recently featured on a documentary advertisement for Tourism Malaysia, which was also aired on National Geographic Channel. His most recent high-profile public appearance was on TEDxWWF talks in Singapore , where he was the only Malaysian invited to address a ‘live’ audience, which was broadcast around the globe.

His ceaseless quest for excellence in Natural History took him on an extraordinary visit to the world-renowned British Museum of Natural History in London where he undertook, by invitation, a brief course in taxonomy and biosystematics with Prof. Bernard d’Abrera, arguably the greatest world authority on butterflies and moths. For many years, Irshad has spent hours in the field with Professor d’Abrera on his frequent visits to the island, learning about insect life in general, and the Lepidoptera in particular, and was introduced inter alia by the famous ‘Butterfly Man’ to the miracles of the Irreducible Complexity of symbiotic relationships in the insect/plant world.

As an avid ornithologist, Irshad has himself spent many hours in the rainforests of Langkawi and elsewhere in Malaysia and has observed, studied and documented the life histories of many species of birds, with a special focus on two iconic species on Langkawi, namely the Great Hornbill and the White Bellied Sea Eagle.   He is also the first person in Malaysia who, together with late Miles Badeley recorded the enigmatic presence of the Mountain- Hawk Eagle on Langkawi, a bird not found on either Peninsular Malaysia or Borneo.

When not in the field, Irshad consults and lectures on birds, biogeography, conservation and other elements of island Natural History to a wide audience, ranging from school children to corporate figures, naturalists, scientists, and others with a love of, or interest in, Natural History.  Irshad’s aim is to communicate to people that the forest is a living community of interactive and interdependent relationships of living creatures, and not an inexplicable world to be ignored or taken for granted.

When not on his travels or tours, Irshad may be found in his idyllic home with his wife and two small children, nestled in the midst of padi-fields shimmering with gold and grassy green.  Here he relaxes with the simple pleasures of bird-watching, painting and sketching Natural History.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself, he also likes to immerse himself in reading from his large and growing personal library.