Best of our wild blogs: 20 May 19

Wild fun for kids during the June school holidays!
wild shores of singapore

Mushroom (coral) overdose at Pulau Hantu!
wild shores of singapore

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Diving in: Singapore scientists, volunteers on a mission to protect local reefs from marine trash

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 19 May 19;

SINGAPORE — As the divers navigated their way through Singapore’s southern waters, the beam from their flashlights came across a child-like hand sticking out from the murky depths.

They approached it with apprehension and, to their relief, discovered that it was a doll.

“It was during the Seventh Month (Hungry Ghost Festival)…It was so creepy that I couldn’t sleep the whole night!” said Ms Sam Shu Qin, 30, one of the founders of Our Singapore Reefs.

Undeterred by the spooky encounter, the team from the non-profit organisation has continued on their mission to clean up the waters around the southern islands of marine trash.

The debris poses a threat to the marine biodiversity in Singapore, said Ms Sam, a marine biologist.

Research is emerging on the environmental damage caused by plastic – the most common type of marine debris retrieved in Singapore, making up 57 per cent of the pieces retrieved.

A new study released on May 15 revealed that the production and incineration of plastic in 2019 will add more than 850 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere — equal to the pollution from 189 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.

According to the report by the Center for International Environmental Law and other groups, oceans absorb as much as 40 percent of all human-produced carbon dioxide since the beginning of the industrial era.

A small but growing body of research suggests plastic discarded in the environment may be disrupting the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, said the report, titled Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet.

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Paws for reflection: Animals blessed and rehomed as Buddhist temple marks Vesak Day

Michelle Ng Straits Times 19 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Singapore's only 24-hour Tibetan Buddhist temple marked Vesak Day on Sunday (May 19) by inviting pet owners to get their animals blessed and animal welfare charities to stage an adoption drive for strays.

Thekchen Choling described the event as a modern-day interpretation of the traditional Buddhist animal liberation practice.

For the first time, the temple on Beatty Lane in Jalan Besar collaborated with four animal welfare groups - the Animal Human Alliance, Cat Welfare Society, Purely Adoptions and Forget Me Not - to hold the cat and dog adoption drive with cats and raise awareness of animal welfare.

Traditionally, Buddhists release animals on Vesak Day to create merit but the temple's spiritual director Singha Rinpoche said the practice could be viewed in other ways in today's context.

He said: "Buying and releasing animals is actually not good for the environment so it's much better if we can feed and rehome strays. Rather than blind faith, we want to promote social and spiritual cohesion along with the teaching that all beings, both humans and animals, are equal."

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Baby monkey lying on road saved by passers-by who helped divert traffic

Choo Yun Ting Straits Times 19 May 19;

SINGAPORE - A baby monkey was found lying on a road in Bukit Panjang on Sunday (May 19), but it was saved by kind passers-by.

One of the passers-by, who wanted to be identified only as Mrs Lo, told The Straits Times that she and her husband were driving along Petir Road at around 3pm on Sunday when they saw a woman dressed in black directing traffic along the two-lane road.

The area is near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where monkeys such as the long-tailed macaques are frequently sighted.

Mrs Lo and her husband realised that the woman was diverting traffic to the left lane because a baby monkey was lying prone on the right lane near Block 202 Petir Road. A larger monkey, which seemed to be the animal's parent, was trying to get to it, Mrs Lo said.

"The baby monkey looked like it was unconscious and could be dead, but it later raised one of its arms and that's when we realised it was still alive," she added.

There were no visible injuries, Mrs Lo said.

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Malaysia could lose last male Sumatran rhino

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 19 May 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is in danger of losing Tam, its last male Sumatran rhinoceros.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the animal’s appetite and alertness had declined abruptly since the end of last month.

“Serious concerns are growing over (Tam’s) health now. It is receiving round-the-clock attention and medication,” she said.

“Tests are ongoing, but it seems that one or more of his internal organs are not functioning well.”

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Malaysia wages 'war' on Vietnam trawlers

Adrian David New Straits Times 19 May 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA has sent a strong message to Vietnam that it is fully committed to protecting its billions of ringgit of fish and marine resources in the South China Sea.

On April 25, Malaysia initiated a multi-agency task force to safeguard its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from poaching by Vietnamese trawlers.

Wisma Putra followed it up by sending a strong protest note to Hanoi, via its ambassador here on May 8, signalling its “war” against the marauding trawlers.

The task force is understood to have mobilised an assortment of maritime, naval, marine and fisheries assets and thousands of personnel, with “eye in the sky” support from the air force.

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Malaysia: Increased diving permits for Pulau Sipadan

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 19 May 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Pulau Sipadan, the globally renowned diving destination, is going to become more crowded.

This is after Sabah Parks increased its daily diving permits from the 120 to 176 permits per day.

Despite the diving permit increase, Sabah Parks has however restricted diving activity to only three dives per diver (528 dives a day) as compared to the previous maximum four dives per diver (480 dives a day).

Taking into effect this month, the move is a temporary measure to see whether the additional number of permits and the increased number of divers would have a significant impact on Pulau Sipadan.

It is learnt that Universiti Malaysia Sabah will conduct a study on the ecological impact.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 May 19

Corallimorphs of Singapore identified!
wild shores of singapore

Awls of Singapore : Part 2
Butterflies of Singapore

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What will it take to kick Singapore's growing multimillion-dollar addiction to bottled water?

Singapore is known the world over for the quality of its tap water. Nonetheless, consumers here still fork out millions of dollars on bottled water every year.
Lianne Chia Channel NewsAsia 19 May 19;

SINGAPORE: The water flowing from Singapore's taps is perfectly safe to drink, but recent research shows that many people still prefer to quench their thirst with bottled water, with demand continuing to grow.

Data from research firm Euromonitor International show that sales of bottled water have been increasing steadily over the years - from S$161.3 million in 2013 to S$179.4 million in 2018. The figure includes sales of all types of bottled water, including still, carbonated, flavoured and what is known as "functional" water, which is enhanced with ingredients such as vitamins.

And this has an impact on the environment, given that most bottled water is sold in single-used plastic containers, very little of which is recycled, according to the Singapore Environment Council.

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Panel formed to articulate youth vision for Singapore in 2025 and create action plan to get there

Joanna Seow Straits Times 18 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Many young people today hope that in six years, Singapore society will be inclusive, compassionate and respectful. They also hope that people will live sustainable lifestyles and enjoy better work-life balance.

These hopes were raised at a three-hour dialogue session on Saturday (May 18) called Youth Conversations. More than 100 young people aged between 16 and 40 participated in the event at The Red Box in Somerset.

Members of a new panel that will lead efforts to articulate young people's vision for Singapore in 2025, and to come up with an action plan to get there, were there to take in their views.

The formation of the SG Youth Action Plan panel was announced on Saturday by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann, who is co-chair of the panel together with Mr Edward Chia, music and lifestyle company Timbre Group's co-founder and chief executive.

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Hari Raya Bazaar at Our Tampines Hub goes green

Jolene Ang Straits Times 18 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Ramadan is a good opportunity for Singaporeans to build cohesiveness and forge deeper understandings, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (May 18) evening.

Speaking at the launch of Our Tampines Hub's annual Hari Raya Bazaar, which is into its third edition, Mr Heng said: "I think as we celebrate this event, we can build a deeper understanding and a closer sense of community.

"And this is important not just for our Muslims, but for all races and religions. I'm very happy to see so many people coming together, enjoying each other's company and getting to know one another better," said Mr Heng, who is also MP for Tampines GRC.

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Malaysia: Getting tough on polluters

sim leoi leoi The Star 19 May 19;

PETALING JAYA: Stiffer penalties of up to a RM5mil fine will be imposed for environmental offences under a new Act that is currently being drafted.

A trust fund is also being set up to reward whistleblowers and for effective enforcement. For now, public feedback on what would constitute the new law is being sought.

These come in the wake of the recent toxic waste dumping of Sungai Kim Kim, which at its peak sent over 4,000 people to hospitals in Pasir Gudang. Besides this, the recent controversy over illegal imported plastic waste has also prompted work on the new Act.

Among others, it will see hefty fines for offences across the board, much heavier than those imposed under the current Environmental Quality Act 1974.

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