Louisa Ponnampalam, Chairperson & Co-Founder
Dr. Louisa Shobhini Ponnampalam is a cetacean ecologist who began her education in marine science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii. She then went on to pursue her Ph.D. on a prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship at the University Marine Biological Station in Millport, Scotland, researching small dolphins in the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Louisa is also a Member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group and was nominated for the prestigious 2014 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.
Her research work on cetaceans has also taken her to the Bering Sea, across the North Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, South China Sea, Sulu-Sulawesi Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, and more recently, the northern Straits of Malacca/southern Andaman Sea. Nonetheless, her true passion lies in increasing the scientific knowledge of marine mammals in Malaysia and to advocate for a greater awareness on marine mammal conservation among the Malaysian public, all of which she aspires to achieve via MareCet.
A founding member of the Malaysian Marine Mammal Stranding Network, she hopes to groom homegrown researchers who will be the next generation of ambassadors for the conservation of marine mammals and the marine environment in Malaysia through hands-on participation in MareCet’s efforts.
In her free time, she loves being outdoors in nature’s paths and sometimes gives in to the bite of the travel bug.
Fairul Izmal Jamal Hisne, Vice-Chairperson & Co-Founder
Fairul Izmal Jamal Hisne found his calling at 10 years old when he observed his first whale migration and has never waivered since. He began his education in Medical Laboratory Sciences in PTPL College, Malaysia, where he was involved in pathological analysis and medical forensics.
He continued his education at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree in Marine Sciences. Since then, he has designed, managed and implemented a variety of marine and coastal environmental research and conservation projects in Malaysia and overseas.
He has also been engaged in a number of policy consultations notably as a member of the National Advisory Council for Marine Parks, founding member of the Taskforce on Malaysian Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and appointed as an expert panel reviewer for a multitude of Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) studies.
His main interest remains to pursue for increased understanding of marine mammals in Malaysia and to increase public awareness on their conservation needs.
Through MareCet, he hopes to be able to empower his fellow citizens of all ages to share his passion for marine mammals and the oceans they live in.
Ng Jol Ern, Honorary Secretary
Ng Jol Ern has a deep passion for animals, particularly dolphins and whales, ever since she was a kid. She had always dreamt of working with animals after watching wildlife documentaries during her childhood, but never imagined that she would one day be living and breathing it!
Her participation in the Langkawi Dolphin Research Project in 2012 led to her eventual longer-term involvement with MareCet’s activities. She was very grateful to have to opportunity to follow her dream and be involved with marine mammal research and conservation work upon graduating with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Biology from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2012.
Through MareCet, Jol Ern not only she hopes to pursue her career in marine mammal conservation, but to also spread the important message to the Malaysian public, and influencing those around her to be proactive for the environment through her recently discovered creative and artistic talents.
For her love of nature, she is never tired of exploring the beauty of Mother Nature. She enjoys spending her time outdoors, either being in the water or trekking into the forest.
Lim I-Lin, Honorary Treasurer
Lim I-Lin’s passion for diving started when she was exposed to snorkeling at 12 years of age. After her first trip to Perhentian Island, Malaysia, she has never stopped loving the sea and its rich underwater marine life.
In 2004, she finally picked up diving after saving enough and has never looked back.
She feels that more needs to be done to promote awareness on marine conservation among the public and hopefully through her involvement in MareCet, she can help achieve this and enable better preservation of the rich marine biodiversity found in our world.
I-Lin is currently attached to one of the local investment banks and has carries with her several years of experience in investment banking.
She enjoys her work and above all appreciates the salary which allows her to pamper herself with one overseas diving trip a year. In her spare time, I-Lin tries to squeeze in some outdoor activities in order to recharge and get her sanity back after a hectic week at work.
Ravinder Kaur, Council Member
Ravinder Kaur has always been fascinated by all creatures in the sea and on land since her childhood days. Thus, she pursued a study in Conservation Biology in University Malaysia Sabah.
Upon graduation, she began her career in conservation when she joined the Malaysian Nature Society as a Conservation Officer. She became a part of the MNS Hornbill Conservation team, and decided to pursue a Masters in Science (Animal Behaviour).
She studied hornbills alongside her wildlife photographer husband, Sanjitpaal Singh. Together, they established fullcirclepix.com, a photography website.
They hope through photography, they can encourage the love for nature and all its splendour. Ravin also enjoys writing about nature and her work has been published in several local and international magazines.
Currently, Ravin is keen to pursue her Ph.D and to continue to contribute her efforts towards nature conservation whichever way she can.
Vivian Kuit, Council Member
Vivian Kuit had her first snorkeling experience through a marine education program in Lankayan Island in Sabah in 2008. Completely mesmerized by the beauty of the underwater world and wished she had discovered it earlier. Her interest in marine life grew and she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science at the National University of Malaysia (UKM). She then picked up scuba diving so that she could get closer to the amazing marine creatures and spend longer time underwater.
Her first exposure to marine mammal research in Malaysia came in 2010, when she volunteered for the Langkawi Dolphin Research Project. Though sightings were rare and weather was not always ideal, she learnt that each cetacean encounter is the fruit of hard work, teaching her to appreciate every moment of it.
Vivian is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Malaya, studying the ecology of coastal cetaceans in Matang, Perak. She enjoys working with people that she admires, and sightings of dolphins always keep her heart pumping and her senses alive. Besides sharing her passion for cetacean with others, she hopes to encourage more people to look beneath the ocean’s surface and play our parts in protecting the marine environment.
Lalita Gomez, Council Member
Lalita is an environmental consultant working in Malaysia and has about eight years’ experience in the field of ecology and environmental consulting. She has been engaged in numerous environmental impact assessments, environmental management plans, environmental scoping studies, environmental and social baseline and monitoring surveys and regulatory reviews, mostly for developments in the offshore environment.
Her consulting experience include a wide range of environmental projects focusing on environmental impact assessments, environmental management plans, environmental monitoring and ecological studies mostly for onshore projects such as sanitary landfills, biodiesel plants and other industrial developments. She has also been involved in the development of an environmental planning blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia - developing a strategic planning framework needed to protect, preserve and enhance the biodiversity and natural environment within that region.
Her background lies in the field of freshwater ecology, having completed an Honours degree in the ecology of tin mine lakes and a Masters in the ecology of peat swamp forests in Peninsular Malaysia. She has years of experience in this field having undertaken numerous field research related to freshwater ecology (e.g., studying lakes, peat swamp forests, aquatic invertebrates in streams and rivers) and forest ecology (e.g., mangroves, elephant population in Taman Negara).