Best of our wild blogs: 6 Jun 12

Beting Bronok still beautiful
from wild shores of singapore and Psychedelic Nature

First natural history museum in Singapore unveiled!
from Raffles Museum News

Changi Beach comes to life!
from Peiyan.Photography and The Annotated Budak

Back to the blue at Changi Beach
from Urban Forest

A Quiet Morning in the Forest
from Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

Lady McNeice Yuen Ping, RIP
from The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

Early Flight of A Juvenile Dollarbird
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Toddycats in the festive mood of biodiversity 2012!
from Toddycats!

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PSA is best seaport in Asia

Channel NewsAsia 5 Jun 12;

SINGAPORE: The Port of Singapore has bagged the awards for the 'Best Seaport in Asia' and the 'Best Green Service Provider - Seaport' at the 26th edition of the Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards (AFSCA).

The Awards was held on Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai.

Captain Lee Cheng Wee, Port Master from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) received the award on behalf of the Port of Singapore.

"These awards are testament to the good support that we have received from the industry and stakeholders to develop the Singapore into a choice port of call. We will continue to invest in infrastructure and introduce initiatives to ensure that the Port of Singapore remains a premier global hub port and a preferred port of call," said Mr Lam Yi Young, MPA's Chief Executive.

Singapore emerged as the top contender in the 'Best Seaport in Asia' category for an unprecedented 24th time, from a list of distinguished nominees including Busan, Dalian, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Klang, Laem Chabang, Manila, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Tanjung Pelepas, Tianjin and Yangshan.

The nominees were judged on a range of criteria, including cost competitiveness, container shipping-friendly fee regime, provision of suitable container shipping-related infrastructure, timely and adequate investment in new infrastructure to meet future demand and the facilitation of ancillary services, including logistics and freight forwarding facilities.

The Port of Singapore also received the 'Best Green Service Provider - Seaport' award for the second time, in recognition of its efforts to promote environmentally-friendly shipping.

To promote clean and green shipping in Singapore, MPA launched the S$100 million Maritime Singapore Green Initiative in April 2011.

A comprehensive initiative comprising three programmes - Green Ship Programme, Green Port Programme and Green Technology Programme, the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative seeks to reduce the environmental impact of shipping and related activities.

The Port of Singapore continued to perform well in 2011 with container and cargo throughput reaching record figures of 29.9 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units and 530.5 million tonnes respectively.

Annual vessel arrival tonnage also crossed the two billion gross tons (GT) mark to reach 2.12 billion GT for the first time in 2011, while bunker sales reached a new record of 43.2 million tonnes.

- CNA/fa

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Malaysia: Endangered birds of Pantai Leka

Chong Chee Seong New Straits Times 6 Jun 12;

REST AREA:The beach is one of the stopovers for migratory birds which fly thousands of kilometres from China, Russia, Australia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other countries to avoid the winter cold

THE Lesser Adjutant storks (leptoptilos javanicus), which are classified internationally as an endangered species, are breeding well in Johor.

Locally known as burung botak, these birds are breeding in the mangrove forests at Pantai Leka, Parit Jawa, Muar.

Pantai Leka is one of the stopovers for migratory birds which fly thousands of kilometres from China, Russia, Australia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other countries to avoid the coming winter. Many die on the journey south.

Surrounded by green mangrove swamps and forests, the 20-ha mudflat at Pantai Leka offers a rich supply of food such as eels, snakes, earthworms, crabs and shellfish

The presence of the migratory birds, especially the local Lesser Adjutant storks, has attracted droves of watchers from far and near, transforming the tranquil village into a tourist destination.

Chia Leong Heng, 105, the oldest resident in Pantai Leka, said when he settled in the village at the age of 20, many migratory birds were found on the mudflat and mangrove trees.

He said Lesser Adjutant was only identified about 30 years ago.

Chia observed that some of the Lesser Adjutant storks in Pantai Leka are breeding.

"The Malaysian birds are larger in size because of the conducive environment, abundant food supply and safe shelter in mangrove trees."

His son, fisherman Chia Tee Tee, 60, said Lesser Adjutants often perched on his boat at sea during their journey.

"I give them water and fish. After a short rest, they continue their journey to Pantai Leka."

Tan Yong Hwee, 57, said he had been seeing migratory birds of different species, including storks, cranes, local eagles and colourful kingfishers, fly across the Straits of Malacca since he became a fisherman 40 years ago.

"I usually feed them when they stop for a rest on my boat. They are exhausted after the long journey."

Keen bird-watcher Jason Lim, a 38-year-old electronic engineer in Singapore, comes to Pantai Leka during weekends and public holidays with his wife, Nancy, and two children, to watch migratory birds.

He enjoys taking photographs of the majestic birds at the mud flats or mangrove trees.

"Although I have snapped many photographs of Lesser Adjutant storks, I find new angles to shoot each time."

Another bird-watcher from Malacca, businessman Sam Leong, 45, said he travelled often to Pantai Leka to observe the migratory birds.

He said the construction of the bird-watch tower, gazebos and the concrete jetty was timely to promote bird-watching as a tourist attraction in Johor.

Leong said this would bring in more tourist revenue to supplement fishermen's incomes.

Muar-Batu Pahat Fishermen's Association president Ser Boon Huat called on the Federal and state governments to conduct an in-depth study to map the migratory routes and landing sites.

He said there was also a need to preserve the pathway along the coastal region and mangrove forests, protect the feeding and breeding grounds, and create more sanctuaries for the endangered species.

He said an adult Lesser Adjutant weighed about 30kg, with a wing span of two metres and a height of one metre.

Ser said the birds were sensitive and would fly elsewhere if their feeding and breeding grounds on the mud flats and mangrove trees were disturbed.

He said this would be a great loss to Johor, in particular Pantai Leka.

"It is a heavenly gift that these birds have come in droves to Pantai Leka."

He chided irresponsible inshore fishermen for laying rawai (fish line with hooks) on the mud flat.

Ser said when the tide subsided, fish caught on the line were left exposed and the birds swooped down on them hoping for a meal.

"That's how some of them are caught by the hooks. If they are not released immediately, they are likely to drowned during the next tide," he said.

Bird watching in Pantai Leka is comfortable as there is no need to wade through mud or trek on jungle routes to see the birds.

Bird watchers can just stand on the shore under shady trees, or in the birdwatching tower, or on the concrete jetty, sipping a coconut drink, as the birds are just metres away."

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Javan rhinos in critical state as International Year of the Rhino begins

WWF 5 Jun 12;

5 June, 2012 — Increasing alarm for the fate of the two rarest rhinoceros species, and growing concern over the increased illegal hunting of rhinos and demand for rhino horn affecting all five species, has prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to declare 5 June 2012 as the start of the International Year of the Rhino. President Yudhoyono took this step at the request of conservation organisations, because the future survival of both the Javan and Sumatran rhinos depends on effective conservation action in Indonesia.

"WWF offers its full support for the commitment made by Indonesia's president to secure a future for the country's critically endangered rhinos,” says Dr Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia. “There is an urgent need to decrease pressures on habitats and to establish a second Javan rhino population in a safer and suitable location. This will be a big endeavour that will require true leadership from government and critical partnerships among scientists, conservation organizations and local communities.”

The government of Indonesia has also made commitments to establish a high-level rhino task force of national and international experts; allocate sufficient resources to enforce protection of remaining rhino populations, and ensure that there is regular and intensive monitoring of all rhino populations in Indonesia.

In the last decade, two rhino subspecies, the western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) in Cameroon and the Indochinese Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) in Vietnam have gone extinct. Today, the populations of two more subspecies, the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) and the mainland population of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotus), both listed as critically endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, are perilously close to extinction because of an increase in illegal hunting and non-traditional use of rhino horn.

During this International Year of the Rhino, it is hoped that all rhino range states in Africa and Asia will join Indonesia and give priority to securing their rhino populations. There are ambitions to bring illegal hunting and trade, especially the illegal trade of rhino horn, under control by ensuring that effective deterrents are in place and enforced. It is also hoped that measures that encourage a rapid growth in rhino numbers will be taken. In Indonesia, extra action will be taken to translocate isolated individuals to actively managed protected areas and improve rhino habitats by removing invasive plant species and providing additional sources of water.

“Strong and clear political messages from the highest possible levels are required to combat the illegal killing and trade in rhino and the message coming from the president is loud and clear," said
John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES. "We hope that this bold initiative by Indonesia will serve as a catalyst for further high-level political support and commitments to protect the rhino in the wild across all concerned states"

Effective conservation by governments in Africa and Asia, in some cases with the support of WWF, has been successful in bringing back the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum), black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) from the brink of extinction. It is clear that highly-focused management and improved conservation measures can lead to increases in the populations of rhinos, and it is now urgent that this is also implemented for the Javan and Sumatran rhinos, as the Indonesian president has stated.

Foreign Aid for Critically Endangered Indonesian Rhinos? No Need, Forestry Minister Says
Fidelis E. Satriastanti Jakarta Post 6 Jun 12;

Indonesia doesn’t need foreign aid to conserve its critically endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos because it can still manage on its own, says Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan.

“We can still manage to take care of the funding, so there’s no need to ask from the international [community],” Zulkifli said on Monday.

“If there is [money], it’s better to focus [it] on other rhinos.”

The minister was speaking during the declaration of the 2012 International Rhinoceros Year, when asked about Indonesia’s commitment to protecting its rhinos, which it signed with ten other countries.

Zulkifli said Indonesia was chosen for the declaration of the awareness campaign because it still had two different rhino species: the two-horned Sumatran rhino and the single-horned Javan rhinoceros, both of which are on the verge of extinction.

He said that Indonesia was also selected because it had a history of success in breeding Sumatran rhinos.

“The declaration is meant to campaign about the importance of the rhino to the public. Tigers and orangutans have already attracted a lot of attention, but there’s not enough attention for rhinos,” Zulkifli said.

Darori, Forestry Ministry’s director general for forest and nature conservation, said the ministry had allocated Rp 300 billion out of its total budget of Rp 1.6 trillion for conservation purposes.

“There are also [funds] from the private sector. For rhinos, these funds have so far come only from APP [Asia Pulp and Paper], which [gave] Rp 6 billion in 2011,” he said.

There are currently five rhino species in the world: the Sumatran and Javan, the Indian rhino in Nepal, India and Bhutan; and the white and black rhinos in southern and central Africa.

Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten is the only remaining habitat of the Javan rhino, and hosts a population of around 35 individuals. A small population of the species in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park was declared extinct last year by the International Union for Conservation Nature.

Around 200 Sumatran rhinos remain in the wild, in the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung and the Leuser National Park in Aceh.

The two Indonesian subspecies are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, just one step above being extinct.

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Indonesia: Governor may have breached moratorium

The Jakarta Post 5 Jun 12;

JAKARTA: An environmental group has accused Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang of issuing a recommendation for a palm oil company to open a plantation in a primary forest in Pulang Pisau regency, a move that could be in violation of a forest-clearing moratorium agreed upon in a deal signed by the Indonesian and Norwegian governments.

A report from the Central Kalimantan office of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) claims that the governor signed on April 23 a recommendation letter to accompany the company’s application to the Forestry Ministry for a logging licence on 6,707 hectares of primary forest.

Such licenses are commonly issued for activities in secondary forests that are designated for production.

“The area is included in the moratorium map so the activity should be deemed illegal,” said Arie Rompas, the director of Walhi Central Kalimantan.

The government signed a bilateral deal with Norway two years ago to halt the issuance of new operational permits for land clearance in primary forests and peatland and to launch a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD+) system in an effort to curb emissions. If successful, the government could receive up to US$1 billion from Norway as a forest management fund.

Central Kalimantan was chosen as the site for a pilot project to implement the REDD+ system.

One year after the moratorium started, deforestation is still occurring and new licenses are still being issued. The government has revised its initial moratorium map (PIPIB) twice, reducing the protected areas from 70 million hectares last year to 65.2 million hectares last month.

Arie said the Pulang Pisau government had also allegedly issued new operational permits for concessions in protected forests to two oil palm companies.

“These cases show the disregard of the local administrations for the bilateral deal,” he said.

The head of the working group on legal review and law enforcement of the presidential REDD+ task force, Mas Achmad Santosa, said the task force was conducting a preliminary study on the Pulang Pisau case.

“We are closely watching the Pulang Pisau case and will launch an investigation if we find enough evidence,” he said.

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Price tag on climate change in Latin America: $100 billion

Reuters 5 Jun 12;

SAO PAULO, June 5 - Damage from climate change could cost Latin American and Caribbean countries $100 billion per year by 2050 if average temperatures rise 2C (3.6F) from pre-industrial levels, as is seen likely, a new report said on Tuesday.

The region accounts for only 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is considered particularly vulnerable to impact from climate change due to its geographic location and reliance on natural resources, the report commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank said.

The development bank released the study days before Brazil hosts the UN's Conference on Sustainable Development, the Rio+20 on June 20-22.

The collapse of the coral biome in the Caribbean, the disappearance of some glaciers in the Andes and some degree of destruction in the Amazon basin were climate change damages highlighted in the report.

For example, the net loss of agricultural exports in the region due to climate change would be between $30 billion and $52 billion in 2050.

"Losses of this magnitude would limit development options as well as access to natural resources and ecosystem services," the report said.

But the development bank pointed out that the cost of helping countries adapt to the effects of climate change would be minor relative to the price tag for potential damage.

It estimates that around 0.2 percent of GDP for the region, or about 10 percent of the costs of physical impacts, would be needed to support climate adaptation.


Latin America has had recent success reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from changes in land-use policies, such as the reduction of emissions related to deforestation.

According to the report, the region's greenhouse gas emissions fell 11 percent from the start of the century to 4.7 billion metric tons (5.19 billion tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010.

While progress has been made in preserving land that would be vulnerable to clear cutting for agriculture or other uses, the IDB said more is needed from the region. The transport and power sectors are expected to increase their share of greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050, the report said.

These two sectors alone could contribute per year 2 billion metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalence) in the region, according to the report.

This could push total greenhouse gas emissions in the region to 7 billion metric tons (7.7 billion tons) by 2050, or 9.3 metric tons (10.3 tons) per capita of carbon dioxide.

"The reductions anticipated in land use change emissions will be more than compensated by increases in emissions from other sectors," said the report.

The IDB said the region should aim for no more than 2.2 metric tons (2.43 tons) of emissions per capita.

To achieve that goal, the institutions behind the analysis said it would be necessary to invest around $110 billion per year, or 0.6% of projected Latin American GDP in 2050.

"The report concludes that a pathway that promotes land-use policies stringent enough to achieve zero net emissions ... by 2030, combined with efforts to eliminate the carbon footprint in the power and transport sector by 2050 (along with other actions), would achieve the 2 tonnes per capita."

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Valerie Volcovici and Jackie Frank)

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