Indonesia land-burning fines unpaid years after fires

STEPHEN WRIGHT Associated Press 15 Feb 19;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian plantation companies fined for burning huge areas of land since 2009 have failed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties meant to hold them accountable for actions that took a devastating environmental and human toll.

The 10 palm oil and pulp wood companies involved in fires owe more than $220 million in fines and the figure for unpaid penalties for environmental destruction swells to $1.3 billion when an illegal logging case from 2013 is included, according to separate summaries of the cases compiled by Greenpeace and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

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Fears flood water runoff could 'smother' Barrier Reef

AFP 15 Feb 19;

Runoff from recent floods in northern Australia is flowing onto parts of the Barrier Reef, scientists said Friday, starving coral of light and providing fodder for the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish.

Parts of northern Queensland are still reeling after nearly two weeks of unprecedented rainfall that turned roads into rivers and inundated hundreds of homes with floodwater.

Scientists at James Cook University say the floods swelled a number of rivers along hundreds of kilometres of coastline, spilling sediment onto the reef which has reduced water quality and much-needed sunlight.

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Best of our wild blogs: 15 Feb 19

Birdwatching with Civetgirl @ Pasir Ris Park: smooth-coated otters, grey herons, fragrant Tembusu and spotted wood owls

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Dominica-flagged vessel sinks in Singapore’s waters near Pedra Branca

A supply vessel was travelling along the Singapore Strait when it capsized at around 7.15am on Feb 14, 2019, about 3 nautical miles from Pedra Branca.
TODAY Online 14 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — A Dominica-flagged supply vessel sank in Singapore’s waters early on Thursday (Feb 14), making it the second maritime incident in a week.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a press release that the vessel, Ocean Cooper 2, was travelling along the Singapore Strait when it capsized at around 7.15am, about 3 nautical miles from Pedra Branca.

Map showing the location where Ocean Cooper 2 capsized. Photo: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

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Crocodile spotted at Lower Seletar Reservoir, water activities suspended

Channel NewsAsia 14 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: All water and fishing activities at Lower Seletar Reservoir have been suspended until further notice after a crocodile was spotted in the area on Thursday (Feb 14).

A PUB contractor spotted the reptile in the morning, said the national water agency in a Facebook post, adding that it will be working with National Parks Board to capture the crocodile.

"For public safety, all water activities and fishing activities at Lower Seletar Reservoir have been suspended until further notice," said PUB.

"The public is advised to be alert and avoid going near the reservoir water edge."

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Tasmania fires may 'wipe out' ancient species

AFP Yahoo News 15 Feb 19;

Hobart (Australia) (AFP) - Tasmania's ancient rainforest and alpine flora species face an uncertain future, scientists have warned, after out-of-control bushfires consumed vast tracts of wild bushland.

As authorities downgraded emergency warnings Friday, with wetter weather -- and even some snow -- bringing respite from more than a month of rolling fires, scientists warned they are still assessing the damage to the island's unique environment.

Wildfires have scorched over 205,000 hectares (500,000 acres) in the southwest, centre and northwest of the island -- fuelled, scientists believe, by climate change.

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El Nino is back but it's late, weak and probably no big deal

SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Yahoo News 15 Feb 19;

WASHINGTON (AP) — An El Nino, which can alter weather worldwide, has formed but it's so weak and late that it shouldn't be a big deal, U.S. forecasters said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that the climate feature formed in the central Pacific, but forecasters don't expect it to last more than three or four months.

An El Nino is a natural warming of the ocean that once it interacts with the atmosphere often warms up the globe and changes rainfall and temperature patterns, making some places wetter and some places drier.

When there is an El Nino, there are generally fewer and weaker hurricanes in the Atlantic, but this one might not make it to summer and have any effect on the next storm season, said Mike Halpert, deputy director for the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

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Malaysia: Poaching is the biggest threat Malaysia’s tigers face

SIM LEOI LEOI The Star 13 Feb 19;

Tiger numbers in all 13 tiger range countries in the world fell steadily for decades – until 2012.

In 1970, tigers numbered some 40,000 around the world; the number then plummeted to about 3,200 in the 2010s and three subspecies – the Balinese, Caspian and Javan tigers – became extinct.

However, in 2012, Bengal tigers in Nepal and India increased in number, adding to an estimation of some 3,900 animals globally.

“India has managed to increase its numbers. Because India has in place very, very strict and good measures,” says Norizan Mohd Mazlan, WWF- Malaysia’s Head of Conservation for Peninsular Malaysia (Terrestrial Conservation).

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Indonesia: Protected birds allegedly traded freely in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 14 Feb 19;

Forest rangers of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA) have rescued 32 purple herons in two locations on Monday and Tuesday.

The protected birds – locally known as cangak merah – were seized from locals who were trading them on sidewalks. Fourteen of the birds were seized on Tuesday on a section of Jl. Lintas Pekanbaru.

Forest rangers Putrapper and M. Hendri spotted the birds while heading to the Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling Wildlife Reserve on the border of the regencies Kampar and Kuantan Singingi.

“They found out that the birds were allegedly being sold by a youth named Dani from Kampung Pinang subdistrict, Perhentian Raja district, Kampar," Riau BBKSDA spokesperson Dian Indriati said on Wednesday.

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Indonesia: Jokowi saves forests, but fails to resolve land, mining conflicts

The Jakarta Post 13 Feb 19;

While praised for its progressive efforts in preserving forests and stopping forest fires, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration still faces criticism for doing less in preventing the harmful practices of mining.

Environment watchdog Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said Jokowi’s efforts in protecting the environment in the last four years had been “half-hearted”.

“It is true that there has been some progress if compared to previous administrations. However, he is still not serious about implementing the point that he stressed in his Nawacita, particularly related to the citizens’ rights to safety and land ownership,” Walhi research and policy manager Boy Jerry Even Sembiring told The Jakarta Post.

He was referring to the nine-point development plan introduced by Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla during their election campaign in 2014.

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Best of our wild blogs: 13 Feb 19

23 Feb (Sat) - Free guided walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

3 March: World Wildlife Day 2019 focusing on marine species for the first time
wild shores of singapore

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NParks to become lead agency for animal and wildlife management

Fann Sim Channel NewsAsia 12 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: From Apr 1, all matters to do with wildlife, as well as non-food plants and animals, will be under the purview of the National Parks Board (NParks).

This comes after the Amendment Bill to transfer non-food plant and animal-related functions from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to NParks was passed on Tuesday (Feb 12).

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