Best of our wild blogs: 2 Oct 13

Sat 5 Oct – Ladies of the Straits Settlements Guided Walk
from a.t.Bukit Brown. Heritage. Habitat. History.

sofa not so good @ Ubin-Jelutong(SLA) 28Sep2013
from sgbeachbum

Toddycats Engage! for MacRitchie at Singapore Futures Sustainability Symposium 2013 from Toddycats!

Job: 2-year Research Assistant position for Green Spaces project
from The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

Chan Yoke Meng: Chasing birds ... and collecting stamps
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Morning Walk At Sengkang Riverside Park (01 Oct 2013)
from Beetles@SG BLOG

Bornean elephant meets palm oil: saving the world's smallest pachyderm in a fractured landscape from news by Jeremy Hance

Read more!

David Attenborough supports effort to save orangutan from extinction

Conservationists aim to raise £1m in two weeks to protect key patches of forest that provide lifeline for the endangered species
Lewis Smith 30 Sep 13;

Sir David Attenborough, Bill Oddie and Chris Packham are supporting an effort to save the orangutan from extinction by raising £1m in just two weeks.

Orangutans in their natural environment live in undisturbed ancient forests and for many years it was believed they shunned any other habitats. But researchers have discovered they can survive just as well and perhaps even better in forests that have been intensively thinned out by loggers, giving renewed hope for the species.

Conservationists have now devised a project that they hope will ensure the long-term survival of orangutans by protecting key patches of secondary forest – areas that have been stripped of the biggest trees but are still wooded – from being chopped down for palm oil and other types of agriculture.

By aiming for £1m in donations in a two-week campaign from 2 October to 16 October, they hope to raise enough money to buy and protect small lots of secondary forest that will link different populations of the primate. Three wealthy backers of the charity behind the project, the World Land Trust, have promised to double any donation made during the fortnight up to a maximum of £500,000.

Sir David Attenborough said: "Every bit of the rainforest that is knocked down is less space for orangutans. They have been reduced very seriously in the past decade, and we must do all we can to reverse this devastation. I fully support World Land Trust in its bid to save this important land."

Bill Oddie, the conservationist and broadcaster, visited Borneo recently and was struck by the sight of palm oil plantations, which have replaced much of the original forest and orangutan habitat.

He said the sight emphasised the need to protect "wildlife corridors", which allow orangutans and other animals to travel between sections of forest that are otherwise surrounded by cultivated land. "These corridors have got to be as good as the forest. The palm oil plantations are useless to them," he added.

Asked why effort should be put into saving orangutans, he said: "Wildlife does add immensely to the human experience, quite apart from what you might think of the morality of welfare of animals. It's a better world with them."

Chris Packham, the BBC wildlife presenter, welcomed the project as a means of saving not just the orangutan but other rare animals such as pygmy elephants.

He said orangutans are "absolutely extraordinary animals", adding: "When you look into their eyes it's like a reflection in a not so distant mirror."

The campaign has been boosted by the support of advertising executives who have designed an advertisement for free and plan to run it without charge, starting last Saturday in Condé Nast magazines, including Vanity Fair, and the Independent.

While there are 54,000 orangutans estimated to live in Borneo, and a further 6,600 in Sumatra, the species is under threat of extinction because its habitat has become fragmented by the encroachment of agriculture.

The project is led by Isabelle Lackman, a French biologist who has devoted her life to studying orangutans since the 1990s when she moved from Paris to Borneo.

Dr Lackman, the president of Hutan and director of KOCP, dismissed warnings by some conservationists that orangutans could disappear in 20 to 30 years as ridiculous but said the threat was nonetheless serious: "If things don't improve orangutans will disappear in the medium term – probably in a couple of hundred years."

"A total of 54,000 would seem a lot but it's fragmented. There are hundreds of smaller populations. That's the main problem for the survival of the species. That's what we are trying to address with the World Land Trust."

Read more!

Indonesian Park refuses transfer of sumatran rhinoceros to US

Antara 1 Oct 13;

East Lampung, Lampung (ANTARA News) - The administrator of Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) has refused the transfer of several Sumatran rhinoceros from the Rhino Preservation Area (SRS) to Cincinnati Zoo, the United States.

"We are not supporting the transfer of several rhinoceros to a foreign country," said Chief of Public Relations at TNWK Sukatmoko on Tuesday.

According to TNWK officials, the transfer plan arose after the breeding centre successfully bred a baby rhino called Andatu and the discovery of a wild baby rhino in the area of TNWK, Lampung.

SRS in TNWK is a natural habitat of Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and proven as a creature that can breed naturally.

"Indonesia should learn from the bad experience in the 1980s when at least 18 Sumatran rhinoceri died in England and the US as they could not adapt to the new habitat," Sukatmoko said.

He urged the Indonesian government to evaluate the transfer programme of Sumatran rhinoceros to the US.

"We urge the related ministry to evaluate the transfer plan," Sukatmoko said.

Director of the Indonesia Rhinoceros Foundation (Yabi) Widodo S Ramono said the Sumatran rhinoceros is an endangered species, although the agency has found two new baby rhinos.

"We should maintain that the baby rhino will not be transferred to the US as its natural habitat is in TNWK," Ramono said.

Although the translocation has been reasonably made by several institutions, Ramono said efforts should be made to increase its population in Indonesia.

He said mating of a rhinoceros and single offspring should not occur to avoid problems at a later stage.

However, Ramono appreciated the efforts of Cincinnati Zoo, which shared its knowledge on rhino breeding.

"But it does not mean that we have agreed to give one Sumatran rhinoceros to them," he said.

He added that if the international community is concerned about the Sumatran Rhinoceros, it should step up efforts to build the SRS.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik

Read more!