Founder of Natural History Tours and in his 20-year career, Irshad has helped with and appeared in many documentaries like Mysteries of the Malaysian Rainforest on National Geographic Channel and The Wedding Ceremony of the White Bellied Sea Eagle on Discovery Channel. With the NGC filming crew, he saw the (also the first ever-recorded) courtship of the Great Hornbills where three young males clashed beaks to court one female. He host Ian Wright from Globe Trekker and it was shown in Travel and Living channel. His most recent TV appearance is with Toby Amies of The Rough Guide – “Trips of a lifetime”. His docu-ad for Tourism Malaysia is also currently shown on Star TV channels.
A self-taught naturalist and outdoor buff, Irshad also educates school kids and trains outdoor instructors on nature and conservation. As part of his job and passion, he trailblazers forest paths and takes part in scientific expeditions.
His interest in nature was instilled in him at a very young age. His father always encouraged his family to be involved in sports and outdoor activities. When he was nine, Irshad’s father asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I said: ‘Dad, I want to be a game warden’,” says Irshad. Growing up, he would lap up nature documentaries by David Bellamy and Sir David Attenborough. But as years went by, he lost touch with his dream. He worked in a bank in Kuala Lumpur.
Five years later a holiday to Pulau Tioman changed his life forever. “It was my first time snorkeling,” recalls Irshad. “I still remember how vivid the colors were. I spent five hours in the water, and only came up when I was hungry. “I knew then that I never wanted to be far from nature again,” says Irshad, who came back to the city and to the chagrin of his parents, quit his job.
Since then “I’ve been able to meet so many people, take people out to enjoy nature, done things I never expected to do in life,” says Irshad. “I’ve met my heroes,” adds Irshad who met his childhood hero, botanist and writer David Bellamy.
On a stint at the British Museum of Natural History, Irshad became an understudy to the world authority in butterflies, Professor Bernard D’Abrera. “To think that I walked in the same place as people like Charles Darwin and stood at the back of the house of (anthropologist/ naturalist) Alfred Russell Wallace…”
“What I hope to achieve on my tours is to show to the people that the forest is a living community of interactive and interdependent relationships. Not unlike our own relationships in our cities in our homes and among our families and friends. If we can instill in the hearts of people the wonders of the natural world firsthand then we have friends of nature for life. And when they leave for home I hope to have inspired them to make positive adjustments to help mother nature in any way they can.
Not surprisingly Irshad Mobarak was announced as one of the DiGi Amazing Malaysians Awards 2007 for his work in preserving Langkawi Nature.
“I have nothing against developments; there are still lots of development projects in Langkawi even now. But we just have to develop with nature and wildlife in mind and preserve some area.” With this in mind, this year Irshad and his friends is forming RainforestAid with goal to KEEPING LANGKAWI WILD!.
September 2016, Irshad Mobarak launched his first book Discovering Langkawi with Irshad Mobarak