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Bring Back the Light: The mission to save the fireflies in Bali

By Obomate Briggs

Decades ago, fireflies were a common sight across South-East Asia. But now they are rapidly disappearing. For the people of Bali in Indonesia, members of this fascinating family of bioluminescent beetles are a beloved sight, as the insects are believed to contain spiritual energy and be a guiding light for lost souls. However, they are also relied on as bioindicators, a key sign of a healthy natural ecosystem, because of their sensitivity to pollution. Major threats contributing to their decline include the degradation and loss of habitats necessary to sustain their entire life cycle, pesticide exposure and light pollution that disrupts their courtship communication. For Wayan Wardika, fond memories of dancing with fireflies as a child propelled him to create Bring Back the Light, Indonesia’s only firefly conservation lab focused on their breeding. From the lab in the heart of the jungle, Wardika and his team of dedicated biologists study the fireflies in nature and under the microscope in the hope of tackling knowledge gaps about the firefly population and biodiversity in Indonesia. Not only do they work to repopulate the fireflies, but they also improve the habitats in which the insects are to be released by forging partnerships with the local Taro Village community educating and promoting sustainable farming practices to protect the balance of nature.


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