Best of our wild blogs: 22 Feb 19

March School Holiday Events!
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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Wolbachia mosquitoes released in expanded Nee Soon, Tampines sites in next phase of study

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 22 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: Male Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes have been released in expanded sites in Nee Soon and Tampines, under the next phase of a study to reduce the Aedes mosquito population and fight dengue.

The third phase of the National Environment Agency's (NEA) Project Wolbachia kicked off on Friday (Feb 22), with the mosquitoes released at Nee Soon East and Tampines West sites that are 1.6 to 2.2 times larger compared to the trial area in phase two.

These male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacterium do not bite or transmit diseases. If they mate with an uninfected female mosquito, the resulting eggs will not hatch.

The purpose of expanding the sites is to determine if suppression of the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population can be sustained in larger areas, said NEA.

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Malaysia: Johor govt to ensure enough water supply despite falling dam levels

remar nordin The Star 21 Feb 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state government is working closely with water operator Ranhill SAJ Sdn Bhd and the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) to monitor the water supply situation here.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse (pic) said despite the long dry spell and falling levels at four dams, the government will ensure there is enough water supply in the state.

The four dams affected by the hot weather are Sungai Lebam, Upper Layang, Sembrong Barat and Lok Heng.

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UN: Growing threat to food from decline in biodiversity

Matt McGrath BBC 22 Feb 19;

The plants, animals, crops and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline, according to a UN study.

If these critical species are lost, the report says, it "places the future of our food system under severe threat".

The study says that land use changes, pollution, and climate change are all causing biodiversity loss.

While species friendly policies are increasing, they are not growing quickly enough, the scientists say.

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Best of our wild blogs: 21 Feb 19

Pulau Semakau (East) is alive!
wild shores of singapore

Fri 1st Mar 2019 “The Hunt for Wallace’s specimens” @ NUS Central Library
The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

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Indonesian Forest Fires Highlight President's Campaign Gaffe

Associated Press 19 Feb 19;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Deliberately set fires are burning through peatland forests in the Indonesian province of Riau, the disaster agency said Tuesday, just two days after President Joko Widodo incorrectly claimed there'd been no fires for several years.

The agency said that 843 hectares of land have burned in Riau since the beginning of the year and that fire-fighting teams are currently battling blazes in several locations.

"Conditions are expected to become more dry so the potential for fires increases," it said in a statement.

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Indonesia: Fourteen herds of elephants in search of food in Aceh

Rahmad Nasution Antara 20 Feb 19;

Lhokseumawe, N Aceh, (ANTARA News)- At least 14 herds of wild Sumatran elephants have been wandering in search of food in the areas of districts such as Tamiang, Pidie, Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Biruen, a conservationist said.

According to the Head of the Lhokseumawe Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Dedi Irvansyah, here on Tuesday evening, around four up to five herds were found wandering around the forest areas of East Aceh and Tamiang Districts.

In North Aceh District, there were three herds of these herbivorous animals, while in the districts of Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Bireun, about four herds of wild elephants were also observed, he stated.

Meanwhile, in Pidie Jaya and Pidie Districts, two herds were reportedly observed, he noted, adding that each of the herds consisted of 15 to 20 wild animals.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 Feb 19

Get plushie Snapping shrimps and Shrimp gobies!
wild shores of singapore

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Wild boar spotted again in Choa Chu Kang

Choo Yun Ting Straits Times 19 Feb 19;

A wild boar was spotted roaming near Housing Board flats in Choa Chu Kang yesterday.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal told The Straits Times that the wild boar had been spotted in the area in recent months.

Yesterday, it was seen near Block 544 Choa Chu Kang Street 52 around 7.30am.

Members of the public were seen keeping their distance from the animal.

Ms Anbarasi said that when Acres staff previously visited the area where the wild boar was spotted, they found that people had left food out in the open for animals.

She also said that "trash management is improper" in the area. "It really boils down to the food available in the area," Ms Anbarasi said, adding that it was a key reason for the repeated wild boar sightings.

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3 land parcels awarded under new tender mode

Price evaluated only after quality of bids assessed; plots awarded for agriculture
Toh Ting Wei Straits Times 19 Feb 19;

Three land parcels have been awarded for agriculture on 20-year leases at Sungei Tengah near Choa Chu Kang through a new tender process, which first looks at quality, then price.

Applicants were first assessed on their production capability, production track record, relevant qualifications and innovation and sustainability under the new Concept and Price tender method. Those who passed were then evaluated on price, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said yesterday.

These companies submitted proposals that incorporated productive and innovative farming systems, such as a recirculating aquaculture system for shrimp farming with auto loaders and feeders and sensors to monitor water quality, and a climate-controlled greenhouse with automatic conveyor belts for growing ornamental aquatic plants.

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Singapore Budget 2019: New aquaculture centre to work on improving Singapore's food resilience

Cheryl Teh Straits Times 18 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - More is being done to transform the food production process, and make Singapore's food supplies more secure.

“In the digital age, we still need food, not just bits and bytes,” Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech on Monday (Jan 18), adding that the agriculture and food production sectors are transforming to meet this need.

A new Centre of Innovation in Aquaculture at Temasek Polytechnic will work on promoting aquaculture (high-tech marine farming) and will be funded to find ways to improve Singapore’s food resilience, said Mr Heng.

He cited the example of St John’s sea bass, a fish breed developed by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Marine Aquaculture Centre and its collaboration with the Temasek Life Sciences laboratory, a beneficiary of Temasek Trust.

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