A young Lewes wildlife photographer who spent eight weeks in the Malaysian jungle has documented his experience in a series of stunning images and blog posts.
Joshua Gray was invited to Merapoh to work as a photographer and videographer for Ecoteer, a volunteer abroad work opportunities agency which undertakes a project in the village working on wildlife conservation and community work with indigenous tribes.
The 20-year-old, who is currently studying Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University, said: “Ecoteer’s project in Merapoh conducts regular jungle treks in this area to the north-west of the National Park. The purpose of these walks is to not only record any signs of tigers and their prey, but also to hopefully deter poachers through our sheer presence.
“One of my highlights of the trip was working with the Batek community. This Orang Asli (original peoples) tribe used to live nomadically in the jungle, foraging for food and using natural material to make shelters. Around thirty years ago, they were put into a concrete village by the Malay government who didn’t want them in the protected national parks. The Batek still rely heavily on the jungle, but are slowly integrating elements of the culture, technology, food and language of the surrounding Malay population.
“It is quite evident that if this continues at the rate it is, a lot of their unrivalled jungle knowledge could be lost. To try and promote the value of their culture and knowledge, Ecoteer employs some of the men as jungle guides and hires the women to lead camping trips for volunteers. Their knowledge of the environment is amazing and you can see how beneficial it could be to fields like medicine.
“In the near future, I will be creating my first book containing more stories from Malaysia and drawing attention to the issues facing the country’s environment and people.
To read Joshua’s full blog and see his images, visit www.joshuagrayphotography.com.
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