Best of our wild blogs: 27 Jun 12

Singapore's sea bed is rich with marine life!
from wild shores of singapore

Random Gallery - Tajuria dominus
from Butterflies of Singapore

The Bidadari Squirrel
from Urban Forest

Caught Red Handed
from Macro Photography in Singapore

Extensive survey near submerged reefs off Pulau Hantu
from wild shores of singapore and Floating barriers installed along Sentosa shore and Work on seawalls at Labrador

the kamikaze? @ the Riverwalk - June 2012
from sgbeachbum

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More 'flight' than 'fight' in wild boars

Straits Times Forum 27 Jun 12;

HAVING lived in Thomson Road for 16 years, I have had my fair share of wild boar sightings, which have increased over the past few years.

Many of these wild boars have more 'flight' than 'fight' in them.

They usually appear late at night when there are few people around. When they are startled by passing cars, they hurriedly dash back into the forested area.

I do not deny that wild boars can be a threat to public safety, but then again, wouldn't most wild animals attack if cornered?

Culling wild boars is not the way to control their population. Fencing up the places where they are often sighted would be a better solution, to prevent not only wild boars from venturing out, but also other wildlife that wander around and get run over by passing cars.

It would be a safer option for both the wildlife and the public.

I remember getting very excited over my first wild boar sighting, and I still get that feeling every time I spot one.

I am sure many people who do not live around forested areas will also be as thrilled. Some people even take their families to these areas to catch a glimpse of the wildlife, such as monkeys and wild boars.

I hope the wild boars will be spared. Let us enjoy nature in our urban city.

Teng Jiahui (Miss)

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South Korea to ban catching of dolphins for shows

AFP Yahoo News 27 Jun 12;

South Korea will ban the catching of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins for use in shows by designating them as protected mammals, the maritime affairs ministry said Tuesday.

An upcoming bill will also designate sea turtles and sea horses as protected species, the ministry said.

Currently it is legal to catch dolphins and whales for a show or for research if authorities give prior approval. Otherwise, it is punishable by a jail term of up to two years or a fine of up to five million won ($4,300).

The revised law would authorise seizures only for research. It would raise penalties to up to three years' imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won.

Dolphins are widely used for shows in South Korea. But Seoul's main zoo agreed in March to suspend its popular show over claims by activists that one of the dolphins was captured illegally.

In April, a court on the southern holiday island of Jeju ordered the release into the ocean of five dolphins which had been captured without permission and used in a show.

Some experts say dolphin shows have educational value and released mammals may not be able to adapt to the open sea. But animal rights activists have called for a ban on dolphin shows and tough rules on seizures.

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Keeping Asia's big cities afloat

Gavin Jones for The Straits Times 27 Jun 12;

BANGKOK, Jakarta and Manila are the megacities of South- east Asia today and, as with most other megacities, they are beset by environmental concerns.

These three megacities sit in low-lying coastal areas barely above sea level, although parts of outer Jakarta and Manila are elevated. So flood woes are prominent in Manila from typhoons, and in Jakarta from its yearly wet season.

Residential developments in nature and water catchment areas have exacerbated the flooding, including a luxurious housing estate in north Jakarta in a conservatory forest area. The forest was to have prevented seawater intrusion and stabilised high tides and floods but now, without it, routine flooding plagues the area.

As for Bangkok, in years when the Chao Phraya River brings run-off from unusually high seasonal rainfall from Thailand's north to central plains, floods can be disastrous. Last year, for example, the total rainfall in the Chao Phraya basin was between 50 per cent and 100 per cent more than the yearly wet season average.

Another aggravating factor seems to have been the conversion of low-lying agricultural land for urban use. Farmers in flood-prone areas of Thailand used to plant long-stem varieties of rice because these could keep ahead of rising floodwaters but now, land paved over for urban use is unable to absorb floodwaters. This, on top of coastal erosion, provides multiple challenges for Bangkok's planners.

Meanwhile, Jakarta and Manila are in the throes of transportation woes. Both have more vehicles than road capacity for them - neither capital has a subway either. Indonesia's petrol subsidies, for example, have spawned a housing sprawl around its major toll roads, causing much rush-hour congestion.

It is hard to measure exactly how large these megacities are, chiefly because official metropolitan boundaries fail to capture the considerable population and economic spillovers from downtown to outlying urban areas.

For example, in 2000, when Jakarta and Manila's total populations were adjusted to include people in surrounding built-up areas, the resulting megacity population estimates jumped from 8.4 million to 17.8 million for Jakarta, and from 9.5 million to 16.2 million for Manila. Similar adjustments for Bangkok raised its population from 6.3 million to 8.3 million.

These populations have since increased considerably and I am now leading a study under the auspices of National University of Singapore's Global Asia Institute (NUS-GAI), to find ways of projecting the populations of such megacities and the urban regions around their metropolitan boundaries.

Might moving South-east Asia's capital cities to less environmentally challenged locations be a solution?

Such a decision cannot be taken lightly. The concentration of wealth and power in these mega-urban regions is such that it contributes as much as 30 per cent to a country's gross domestic product. So moving to greener areas will not greatly stem the flow of people into cities.

The only way, it seems, is to work consistently on many fronts to improve the liveability of these megacities, on which the well-being of so many people depends.

Professor Gavin Jones is director of the J.Y. Pillay Comparative Asia Research Centre at NUS-GAI and he will be speaking at the NUS-GAI Signature Conference on Thursday and Friday.

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