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About The Speaker

Dr. Cyren Wong

I’m Dr. Cyren Wong and I am an ecologist and ethnozoologist. Although my early academic background was in writing and literature, my passion for Nature and the protection of ecologically vulnerable species; as well as my support for indigenous rights prompted me to eventually pursue a PhD in the field of ecological anthropology instead. For the most part of my academic career, the main area of my research involved collaboration with indigenous communities towards the achievement of community-based biodiversity conservation practices. On my part, this involved the documentation of local interactions with native flora and fauna, as well as localized approaches to wildlife-conflict mitigation and natural resource management. By understanding the intersections between ecology and community, I am able to provide an additional layer of checks and balances for conservation stakeholders and decision makers to ensure that any top-down strategies which are implemented are also beneficial and conducive to the preservation and empowerment of indigenous identities and lifestyles. As a researcher who works within the margins of the social and biological sciences, I am a firm believer that community engagement is a necessary step towards a more holistic realization of sustainability in society and I am the creator of “Naturetalksback with Dr. Cyren Asteraceya”, a science communication Facebook Page that focuses on matters pertaining to nature and the environment. In more urban settings, such as the city of Kuala Lumpur, I believe that what is necessary is closer partnerships between researchers, civil society, city planners, and the broader members of community. Today, I will be sharing with you some anecdotes and lessons we have learnt from two research projects conducted by my team in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor on the effectiveness of Butterfly-Gardening as an urban biodiversity conservation strategy, and its implications on community health, wellness, and engagement.