Best of our wild blogs: 18 Nov 13

Green event: The Nature Society (Singapore) & Young NTUC Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) on Green Spaces from Green Drinks Singapore

Morning Walk At Pasir Ris Park (16 Nov 2013)
from Beetles@SG BLOG

Leucistic Javan Myna feeding on Xanthostemon chrysanthus flowers from Bird Ecology Study Group

Singapore's sea pencil helps solve fossil issue!
from wild shores of singapore

Bapak Usnan's Cicada
from Monday Morgue

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Macaque problem: Singapore needs to see nature beyond pragmatic purposes

Jacqueline Lim Today Online 18 Nov 13;

I refer to the letters, “People who feed macaques should be held accountable” (Nov 13) and “Separate areas for people, monkeys will help us co-exist” (Nov 15). I agree with the former, although the problem goes far deeper.

There would be issues not only with macaques, but also with other wildlife subsequently, if deeper thought is not given to the use of natural land.

Land scarcity is a major limitation here, which we have tried to resolve since the country started developing as an economic hub. One of the solutions has been deforestation to pave way for concrete and tar.

In Singapore, nature possesses more instrumental value than intrinsic value; land is regarded more for its economic value than its biotic community. Unsurprisingly, the macaques are reacting in the face of increasing human infringement of their territories.

The way nature is regarded here de-emphasises the importance of mutual dependency and cooperation, which are important elements of ecosystems.

For example, while Singapore has Tree Conservation Areas, these are selected and demarcated, interestingly, based on the “number of mature trees” within the areas that are “worth conserving” and, more importantly, trees that “enhance the beauty of the environment”. In other words, the subjective good of trees, and which types have more worth, is in relation to our standards and criteria. Singapore must start recognising the inherent worth and objective good of nature in the midst of urbanisation.

Current efforts in planning nature places considerately should be encouraged and even applauded. But we must be aware that there is more to nature than pragmatic purposes.

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New eco-trail launched in South West District

Sara Grosse Channel NewsAsia 17 Nov 13;

SINGAPORE: Residents in South West District were encouraged to become environment advocates, with the launch of a new eco-trail on Sunday.

"Discovering GEMs@South West" showcases selected sites recognised for their environmental achievements.

Among the GEMs or 'Green EnviroMiles' are a small wetland system to channel rainwater used to irrigate at Fuhua Primary School's aquaponics farm and the wormery at Siloso Beach Resort.

Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor, said: "Go and visit these projects. Talk and interact with the advocates for these projects, so they can be inspired and learn from the environmentally-friendly practices that have been put in place and then they can go back into the community or into the organisations or schools and implement similar green projects."

Dr Khor is also the Mayor for South West District.

The eco-trail was launched by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the annual South West Clean and Green carnival.

Mr Gan said Singapore is experiencing its worst outbreak of dengue fever since the 1980s, and he highlighted the district's initiatives to combat such public health issue.

He also encouraged residents to promote a better environment for their community.

The inaugural South West District eco-trail was embarked by a group of teachers, grassroots and youth leaders. It is the first of ten tours to be conducted over the next year.

- CNA/ir

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Hundreds of Rare Slow Lorises Seized in Indonesia

Agence France-Presse Jakarta Globe 17 Nov 13;

Tags: Asia illegal animal trade, Indonesia animal trafficking, slow loris
Hundreds of slow lorises have been seized on Indonesia’s Java island as animal smugglers were about to send the protected primates to markets to be sold as pets, officials said Friday.

Government officials last week discovered 238 of the nocturnal animals, one of the few mammals that has a toxic bite, packed into small plastic crates at the port of Merak in the north-west of Java.

They had been smuggled from Sumatra, a vast, jungle-covered, biodiverse island that is home to many rare animals, said protection group the International Animal Rescue Foundation Indonesia.

The group took them to their rescue centre but on the way “six of them died… because they were squeezed tight in the crates and lacked food and water,” the foundation’s Aris Hidayat told AFP.

The animals were about to be sent to markets in the capital Jakarta and surrounding cities when they were rescued, Aris said.

Vets at the rescue center believe the animals had only been captured recently and said hopefully they could be released back into the wild soon, he said.

The Natural Resources Conservation Agency, the government body that discovered the lorises, said a man had been named a suspect in the case and would face trial soon.

Under Indonesian law, someone caught selling protected animals faces a maximum of five years in jail and a 100 million rupiah ($8,700) fine.

The slow loris, which has big eyes, grey fur and is closely related to the lemur, is found across Southeast Asia.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes the lorises on Sumatra as vulnerable.

Agence France-Presse

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