Man and nature in perfect harmony

WOOOSH. The silhouette of something dark swoops across the inky canvas of the jungle. Despite the enthusiastic ramblings of my dinner partner seated across from me (and who’s obviously oblivious to the unfolding scene behind her), I couldn’t help but be distracted. What was THAT? I think to myself, suddenly getting the heebee-jeebies.

“You saw?” Someone’s deep voice slices into my agitated thoughts, nearly causing me to jump out of my skin. Hesitantly, I turn and find myself looking into the bemused eyes of The Datai Langkawi’s resident naturalist, Irshad Mobarak. Judging by the sweat stains on his ‘jungle’ ensemble, I guessed that he’d probably just completed the day’s evening walk with guests around the resort’s lush complex.

“Something flew. Hantu?” I exclaim, half-jokingly. A hearty chuckle ensues, making me feel like I’d made the stupidest statement – EVER. His voice lowering to almost a whisper, the rugged conservationist, who leads a team of passionate naturalists and marine biologists here on this fair isle, explains patiently: “That was probably the flying squirrel or the colugo.”

Anticipating my “the colu-what?” he elaborates:

“It’s a gliding mammal. Colugos spend most of the time curled up in tree hollows or just hanging under branches. They come out at night to forage, just like the flying squirrels.”

“Irshad, come and meet…” a female voice interrupts our conversation, motioning him to join her at another table at the far end of the restaurant. Irshad nods obligingly. “No hantus,” he says, chuckling, before throwing me a jaunty wave and disappearing into the folds of some foreign guests still reeling from their magical sunset cocktail experience earlier.

New Straits Times:  Man and Nature in perfect harmony
Posted By: Intan Maizura Ahmad Kamal
January 13, 2019