Best of our wild blogs: 19 Aug 12

Ubin village dogs
from Ubin.sgkopi

Exploring a new stretch of Seringat-Kias
from wonderful creation and Pei.Yan Photography wild shores of singapore

The Atlas Moth Chronicles - Episode 2
from Butterflies of Singapore

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Sabah to study manhandling of fauna in conservation area by visitors

Ruben Sario The Star 19 Aug 12;

KOTA KINABALU: Photographs of various marine wildlife including turtles and giant clams being manhandled by visitors at what appears to be the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park near here are prompting a review of procedures in the conservation area.

Among the measures to be implemented are the posting of more signs warning visitors against such action, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said an investigation was also under way to verify the authenticity of the pictures posted on Facebook.

“Obviously we are taking this seriously but we also have to verify whether it was indeed at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and if so, whether these were locals or foreigners.

“If they were foreigners, they would have likely been brought to the islands by tour agents, who we will track down,” he said yesterday.

He added that Sabah Parks, which is responsible for the marine park, would blacklist tour agents whose clients continued to flout the regulations.

Masidi said the ministry needed the help of licensed tour guides to inform it of illegal tour operators bringing visitors to the islands.

Sabah Tour Guides Association member David Tseu had claimed that marine park visitors who had taken pictures of themselves holding turtles and giant clams were brought there by unlicensed tour operators.

He claimed that the illegal operators were operating “rampantly” and that the authorities did not appear to have the resources to crack down on them.

Recently, Netizens reacted in anger over a photo of tourists posing with a turtle.

The photo, uploaded by wildlife conservation group Rimba, showed three people with their hands on the turtle's shell while they posed in the water, allegedly in the Perhentian Islands, off Terengganu.

A 34-second video of the incident was also uploaded.

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