Best of our wild blogs: 25 Aug 13

Pulau Semakau's reefy northern shore
from wild shores of singapore

A quick morning walk at Venus Drive (24 Aug 2013)
from Beetles@SG BLOG

It's a Bird! No, it's a Butterfly!!
from Butterflies of Singapore

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Animal-control ops: Contractors must comply with AVA rules

Straits Times 25 Aug 13;

We refer to Ms Vinita Ramani Mohan's feedback ("Put a stop to illegal monkey trapping"; Aug 11).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) engages external contractors to support our animal-control operations in response to public feedback on monkey nuisance, aggression and threats to public safety.

All contractors have to comply with the AVA's requirements on capturing, handling and transporting of the animals, including the location of the control operations.

This is to ensure that the welfare of the captured animals is not compromised. In addition, the condition of all animals sent to the AVA are checked upon arrival.

The AVA also conducts surprise inspections on our contractors regularly to ensure compliance.

With regard to the contractor highlighted by Ms Mohan, the AVA did not engage him while he was being investigated by the National Parks Board.

Members of the public who have feedback on monkey issues may contact the AVA on 1800-476-1600.

Wong Hon Mun (Dr)
Group Director Agri Establishment Regulation Group for Chief Executive Officer
Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority

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Thailand: Oil not to blame for turtle deaths, autopsy results show

Bangkok Post 25 Aug 13;

RAYONG : An initial autopsy on dead sea turtles found in the sea off Rayong has found their deaths have nothing to do with the oil leak disaster last month, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) says.

A male turtle was found dead earlier this month while a female was found dead on Ban Phe beach on Thursday. Both were green turtles.

Villagers suspected the turtles died from pollution caused by the PTT Global Chemical oil spill on July 27.

However, the DMCR autopsies found the creatures' deaths were not linked to poisoning from the oil slick.

The autopsy on the male turtle found garbage inside its intestine, leading the marine biologists to believe it died from digestive problems caused by consuming rubbish in the sea.

The vets had also sent the male turtle's tissues to test for levels of cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. The results are expected next month, Wasin Chaadwimon, a veterinarian from the DMCR's Eastern Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre said.

The vet team yesterday conducted an autopsy on the female turtle, aged around 20 years and weighing about 34 kilogrammes.

"We found a lot of water inside its abdomen, which means it died from drowning, Dr Wasin said, adding he believed the turtle was trapped in a fishing net and could not swim to the surface for air. Veterinarians found a black substance inside its body, but could not confirm whether it was crude oil.

Dr Wasin said the vets could not collect the turtle's tissue for laboratory testing because the animal's carcass was too badly decomposed.

The department said about 10 sea turtles are found dead each month in Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat provinces, with half of the dead turtles dying after getting trapped in fishing nets and 30% from eating garbage.

Meanwhile, Renu Vejaratpimol, a biologist from Silpakorn University's Faculty of Science, yesterday conducted DNA tests of fish in areas affected by the oil slick.

Initial tests found some fish with broken DNA while others had a black stain in their lungs. Ms Renu said toxic chemicals can cause broken DNA in marine animals, but it could not be concluded the irregularities were caused by the spill.

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