Best of our wild blogs: 11 May 14

Revision to the Common Names of Butterflies
from Butterflies of Singapore

Whimbrels bathing and preening
from Bird Ecology Study Group

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Transboundary haze: Singapore seeks Indonesia’s cooperation on ASEAN agreement

NG JING YNG Today Online 10 May 14;

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar) – Singapore has sought Indonesia’s cooperation on ratifying the ASEAN agreement on transboundary haze pollution during the foreign ministers’ meeting at the 24th ASEAN Summit, said Foreign Minister K Shanmugam today (May 10).

The ASEAN foreign ministers have also agreed to issue a joint statement on the South China Sea situation, said Mr Shanmugam, who spoke to the media after this morning’s meeting.

On the haze issue, Mr Shanmugam said that Singapore pointed out that the progress on the implementation of the ASEAN haze monitoring system has not been rapid enough. This is of concern as the El Nino dry conditions could be back in the second half of the year and would exacerbate the haze situation later in Singapore, he noted.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also law minister, also further touched on the South China Sea issue. He told reporters that there was a unanimous agreement by ASEAN foreign ministers to issue a statement to express concern on the recent turn of events.

On Singapore’s position, he said that Singapore agreed on having a statement and noted the benefit of peace for the entire region. Issuing such a statement also emphasises the urgency to conclude on a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, added Mr Shanmugam.

Singapore urges Indonesia to ratify ASEAN haze treaty
Robin Chan The Straits Times AsiaOne 13 May 14;

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar - Singapore has again called on Indonesia to ratify the ASEAN treaty on transboundary haze pollution and asked for cooperation on a haze monitoring system, at a foreign ministers' meeting here yesterday.

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters: "We welcomed the Indonesian President's active intervention to deal with the issue earlier this year.

"But there are many signs that the El Nino phenomenon will come back in the second half and that could exacerbate the situation, so we hope that Indonesia could ratify the ASEAN treaty on transboundary haze pollution."

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said Singapore pointed out that progress on the implementation of the ASEAN Haze Monitoring System has, "to put it mildly", not been particularly rapid.

"We are ready and willing. The monitoring system will help identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"So we are really hoping, asking for cooperation on that."

The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution was signed in June 2002. Of the ASEAN 10, Indonesia is the only country which has yet to ratify the treaty.

Indonesia's Parliament looks set to ratify the agreement this year after holding out for more than a decade.

The next step will be for the Indonesian government to table the draft Bill for Parliament to ratify the pact before a full session of Parliament, after its April elections.

The ASEAN members also approved a joint haze monitoring system last October.

The $100,000 monitoring system was developed by Singapore.

It is expected to make use of land concession maps from each country, hot spot data and high resolution satellite images to identify companies responsible for burning land illegally.

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Photographer surprised by 2m croc at Sungei Buloh

Colin Tham The New Paper AsiaOne 11 May 14;

In the still waters at Sungei Buloh nature reserve, crocodiles lurk, or so they heard.

Curious, nature photographer Mohamad Sulkhi, a 50-year-old operations manager, set out to look for the reptile.

But when he saw one, he was shocked - the beast was huge, about 2m long.

"When I looked through my camera lens at the crocodile, I saw a huge and menacing creature," said Mr Sulkhi.

"We were shocked at how big it was."

Mr Sulkhi was with his brother-in-law, Mr Ghazali Ramlan, when they spotted the crocodile on May 1.

They had finished taking pictures at the nature reserve at about 10.30am when they met a family of four. The family told them they had seen a crocodile at the water's edge about 25m away.

Mr Sulkhi's first instinct was to use his camera, with its 300mm lens, to zoom in on the crocodile.

By then, about 12 people had gathered and to gawk at what is believed to be a saltwater crocodile.

Mr Sulkhi snapped away for about half an hour before the crocodile, perhaps disturbed by all the human activity, slid back into the water.

Said Mr Ghazali, a school AV techinician: I've heard a lot about these crocodiles but I've never seen them here before. I was quite shocked and surprised."

Added Mr Sulkhi, who is a frequent visitor to Sungei Buloh: "Before that, the only things I saw were monitor lizards."

He said he often sees families with children going on morning walks at the reserve and added that many parents do not pay attention to where their children are going.

"They are not aware of the danger," he said.

"I tell my friends and other families who go to such areas to be careful as there may be large crocodiles around.

"You never know, the crocodile could crawl over the pathway and harm someone, especially kids."

Crocodiles have been appearing more often in parts of Singapore recently. This latest sighting follows the discovery of a dead crocodile, dubbed "Barney" by anglers, at Kranji reservoir last month.

"Barney" is believed to have been a saltwater crocodile that was about 3.6m long and weighed about 400kg.

Around 10 saltwater crocodiles are thought to live around Singapore's north-western coastline.

When contacted by The New Paper, NParks, which runs Sungei Buloh, declined to provide additional information about crocodiles in the area.


It had previously advised visitors that should they encounter crocodiles, they should stay calm and back away slowly. Do not try to approach, provoke or feed it.

If you need help, call the Reserve Information Counter at 6794-1401.

Related link
Crocodile! What should I do?! on the wild shores of singapore blog

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Fruit supply in Singapore healthy

Leong Wai Kit Channel NewsAsia 10 May 14;

SINGAPORE: The supply of fruits to Singapore will remain healthy despite a drop in produce from Malaysia because of a dry spell.

Importers say there is more than one country that they can get supplies from.

According to the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association (SFVA), deliveries of papayas from Malaysia will fall by half next week from 12 tons to six tons.

As a result, prices could double.

Imports of other fruits such as guava and pineapple have also been hit by the adverse weather.

The association says about 40 per cent of Singapore's total fruit supply comes from Malaysia.

But if it becomes too expensive or if supply drops significantly, it can import from other countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

- CNA/ir

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