Dr. Lim Boo Liat, a famous Malaysian zoologist and foremost authority on all matters relating to Malaysia’s biological variety, is honoured in today’s Doodle. He contributed to the establishment of Malaysia’s national zoo and authored over 300 research papers on mammalogy and parasitology. Dr. Lim was the first Southeast Asian and fourth Asian to be conferred Honorary Membership to the American Society of Mammalogists on this day in 2003.
Dr. Lim used to travel to the school garden in Klang, Selangor, to examine the life of the little animals and insects that lived there. When World War II hit Malaysia, he was only 16 years old and had to put his education on hold in order to support his family. He applied for a temporary Lab Assistant employment at the Institute of Medical Research after the war in 1947. (IMR).
He was promoted to permanent Lab Assistant in 1952 and participated on several scientific expeditions. Dr. Lim studied parasite impacts on wildlife behaviour and attended conferences on the subject. He authored more than 80 scientific papers on vertebrate animals between 1955 and 1969, and was asked to lead the IMR’s newly formed Medical Ecology Division.
A few professors from European colleges saw his potential and skill in the sector and helped him pursue his Master’s Degree despite his lack of formal education. Dr. Lim didn’t even finish his bachelor’s degree before being accepted to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
In 1972, he returned to Malaysia and took over the Medical Ecology Division as a full-fledged zoologist. Dr. Lim got his PhD in Zoology from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1977 and was asked to help lead the World Health Organization’s Vector Biology Control Research Unit.
His contributions to zoology and biodiversity have inspired the next generation of Malaysian scientists. Dr. Lim has progressed from being a temporary lab assistant to being an honorary member of the American Society of Mammalogists. He is the laureate of the Merdeka Award in 2013 and has a number of parasite and animal species named after him.