Best of our wild blogs: 27 Jan 16




'Mini-Chek Jawa' is lost?
wild shores of singapore

NSS Kids’ Fun with Intertidal Marine Life at Changi Beach
Fun with Nature by Fun

lone 'whimlew' @ Pulau Semakau - 24Jan2016
sgbeachbum


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PUB studying ways to protect coastal structures against rising sea levels

The PUB is calling a tender for an engineering study to identify measures to protect structures such as dams, tidal gates, dykes and spillways at 11 reservoirs.
Channel NewsAsia 27 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: With sea levels projected to rise globally, PUB is calling a tender to identify ways to protect Singapore's coastal reservoir structures, it announced in a news release on Wednesday (Jan 27).

The national water agency is looking to commission an engineering study to identify measures to protect structures such as dams, tidal gates, dykes and spillways at 11 reservoirs against future sea level rises, it said.

The study will review the design of the existing structures at the coastal reservoirs and assess if they are adequate to cope with the projected sea level rises based on the 2nd National Climate Change Study conducted by the Centre for Climate Research Singapore.

It will also include measures to ensure the structural integrity of these reservoir structures against the projected future sea levels. Some of the possible adaptation measures include raising of tidal gates, installation of buffer beams and measures to retrofit the tidal gates structures, the statutory board said.

PUB’s Chief Sustainability Officer Tan Nguan Sen said there was a need to start looking into preventive measures early to "enhance our adaptation plans to address the impacts of climate change and protect our water infrastructures".

"While the reservoir structures are adequate in addressing the current sea levels, taking on this study allows us to prepare for future sea level rises and take early steps to protect coastal reservoirs against seawater intrusion up to the year 2100."

To cater to long-term sea level rise, the minimum land reclamation level in Singapore was raised by one metre in 2011. This is more than two metres above the highest recorded sea level and is adequate in addressing projected sea levels, PUB said.

- CNA/mz

PUB studying ways to protect coastal reservoirs from rising sea levels
Today Online 27 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE — The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is looking at ways to protect Singapore’s coastal reservoir structures from rising sea levels.

To do this, the national water agency has called for a tender for an engineering study to be conducted at 11 of the Republic’s 17 reservoirs, it said in a statement today (Jan 27).

The study would review the design of existing structures — such as dams, tidal gates, dykes and spillways — and assess their adequacy to cope with projected sea level rises. Dams and dykes are especially important in estuarine reservoirs, where they work as tidal barriers to prevent seawater from entering the water supply.

In addition, the study will also look into measures of improving the reservoirs’ ability to withstand higher sea levels, such as the raising of tidal gates and the installation of buffer beams.

Mr Tan Nguan Sen, the PUB’s chief sustainability officer, said that such studies would help the agency “prepare for future sea level rises” and “take early steps to protect coastal reservoirs against seawater intrusion up to the year 2100”.

Experts say that rising sea levels could have a devastating effect on Singapore, as 30 per cent of the island lies less than 5m above the mean sea level. The first phase of the 2nd National Climate Change Study, conducted by the Centre for Climate Research Singapore last year, predicted that average sea levels could rise up to 0.76m by the end of the century.

The Government has already taken several measures to prepare for rising sea levels in the future: Last week, The Straits Times reported that Nicoll Drive, which runs along the Changi Beach coastline, was being raised by 0.8m, and in 2011, the minimum land reclamation level was raised by 1m. This brought the new level to more than 2m above the highest recorded sea level, well above projected sea level rises.

The study will cover all nine estuarine reservoirs, along with the Pandan Reservoir and Jurong Lake. ASHUTOSH RAVIKRISHNAN


PUB seeks ways to better protect coastal reservoirs against future sea level rise
AsiaOne 27 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE - The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is calling for a tender to conduct an engineering study that can identify possible measures to protect Singapore's coastal reservoir structures against future sea level rise.

Such structures include dams, tidal gates, dykes and spillways at the 11 reservoirs here.

Nine of the 17 reservoirs in Singapore are estuarine reservoirs situated near the sea.

These were created in the last 40 years by damming up the river mouths to create freshwater bodies and flushing out the salty water over time, said a PUB statement today (Jan 27).

The dams and dykes act as tidal barriers to prevent seawater from entering the reservoirs.

Besides the estuarine reservoirs, Pandan Reservoir and Jurong Lake, which are connected to the sea by canals, are also included in the study.

The study will review the design of the existing structures at the coastal reservoirs and assess if they are adequate to cope with the projected sea level rises based on the 2nd National Climate Change Study conducted by Centre for Climate Research Singapore.

It will also look into measures to ensure the structural integrity of these reservoir structures against the projected future sea levels.

Some of the possible adaptation measures include raising of tidal gates, installation of buffer beams, and measures to retrofit the tidal gates structures.

"We need to start early to enhance our adaptation plans to address the impacts of climate change and protect our water infrastructures", said Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's chief sustainability officer.

"While the reservoir structures are adequate in addressing the current sea levels, taking on this study allows us to prepare for future sea level rises and take early steps to protect coastal reservoirs against seawater intrusion up to the year 2100," added Mr Tan.

To cater to long-term sea level rise, the minimum land reclamation level in Singapore has been raised by another 1 metre in 2011. This level is more than 2 metres above the highest recorded sea level and is adequate in addressing projected sea levels.


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622 dengue cases reported last week: NEA

A total of 1,882 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since Jan 3, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).
Channel NewsAsia 26 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: A total of 622 dengue cases were reported in the week ending Jan 23, according to latest figures published on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website.

This was 2 cases fewer than the previous week, NEA said, after revising down the original 628 figure. Another 89 cases were reported between Jan 24 and 3.30pm on Jan 25.

A total of 1,882 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since Jan 3. Last Friday, a 47-year-old man living in Marsiling Rise died of dengue – the first dengue-related death this year.

NEA warned that there has been an increase in the Aedes mosquito population, with the warmer-than-usual weather shortening the breeding and maturation cycles of the mosquitoes, as well as the incubation periods for the dengue virus.

Additionally, the proportion of dengue cases due to the DENV-2 serotype has increased and now accounts for more than two-thirds of all dengue cases serotyped in Singapore, the agency said. Previously, the DENV-1 serotype accounted for most of the dengue cases in Singapore since March 2013.

“This change in the main circulating dengue virus and the increase in mosquito population due to warmer weather may be contributing to the spike in dengue cases. Immediate measures need to be taken by all stakeholders to suppress the Aedes mosquito population,” NEA said.

NEA also reminded homeowners who buy plants for Chinese New Year to ensure that the plants do not become breeding habitats for mosquitos. Those doing spring-cleaning should also properly dispose of their refuse to avoid these becoming breeding habitats, and those planning to go on vacation should also mosquito-proof their homes before travelling, it said.

- CNA/cy


622 cases of dengue reported last week
Today Online 26 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE – The number of reported cases of dengue remained high last week with 622 cases reported between Jan 17 and Jan 23.

This was two cases fewer than the week before, but still higher than any week reported last year, data provided by the National Environment Agency (NEA) showed. The number of cases is also higher compared to the same period over the last three years.

The NEA today (Jan 26) urged for members of the public and stakeholders “to take immediate action to stem the further increase in cases”.

Noting that the majority of breeding is found in homes, with the top breeding spots being domestic containers and flower pot plates and trays, the NEA said: “This is of added concern to NEA during the Chinese New Year festive season when households purchase and display Chinese New Year plants.”

Last Friday, a 47-year-old man became the first dengue fatality of the year in Singapore. The man, a Singaporean, was living at Marsiling Rise. He had been admitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital last Thursday and died a day later as his condition deteriorated.

The NEA has said the spike in dengue cases could be due to a change in the main circulating dengue virus — the DENV-2 serotype currently accounts for about two-thirds of all dengue cases serotyped here — as well as warmer than usual year-end weather due to the El Nino phenomenon.


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Cold wave, erratic weather push up veggie, fruit prices

Melissa Lin, The Straits Times AsiaOne 27 Jan 16;

Expect to pay more for Chinese leek, Korean strawberries and Thai asparagus in the coming days. And you can blame the cold snap for it.

Supplies of certain vegetables and fruit from China, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and the United States - countries struck by an unusual cold wave since last week - may be hit. This could see prices rising.

At supermarket chain FairPrice, prices of leek and tango lettuce from China, and lettuce and celery from Taiwan have increased slightly - by less than 5 per cent - due to reduced supply. Prices of Korean strawberries are up by 10 to 15 per cent.

At Giant, the cost price of leek and tang oh (garland chrysanthemum) from China have gone up by 25 per cent, although a spokesman said retail prices "remain competitive".

A cold wave from China making its way south has caused temperatures to plunge in parts of the region over the past few days, resulting in cancelled flights, stranded holidaymakers and withered crops.

Cold and rainy weather in China has caused fresh leek and tang oh to rot and wither faster than usual, lowering supply, said Mr Jerry Tan, managing director of fresh produce wholesaler Hu Lee Impex.

The wholesale price of fresh leek has doubled compared with the same time last year, while the shipment of tang oh has plunged by 90 per cent. "Importers are all panicking that they may not have enough supply to meet the demand of their customers," said Mr Tan.

Erratic weather in other parts of the world has also affected prices of some imports here.

Fruit and vegetables wholesaler FreshDirect stopped importing strawberries from California last month as prices skyrocketed following a drought.

"The cost price was higher than my selling price last year, about a 50 per cent increase. The quality of the produce was not that good either," said FreshDirect director Desmond Bernavey Lee.

He expects the recent cold snap to push up prices for asparagus from Thailand.

"I've got feedback from farms there that the vegetables are not growing as fast as they should be because of the cold," he said.

Wholsesalers and retailers are looking for other options. They can turn to Egypt, Australia and New Zealand for strawberries, and to Malaysia for lettuce.

Meanwhile, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported yesterday that the harvest of pomelos in the country has fallen by nearly half due to last year's haze and rainy season.

Pomelos are usually eaten during Chinese New Year as they signify prosperity and good luck.

At FairPrice, prices of pomelos have increased by 3 to 6 per cent compared to last year. The chain also imports pomelos from Vietnam.

Mr Victor Chai, director of fresh and frozen products at FairPrice's purchasing and merchandising department, said the chain will "continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with our suppliers to provide the best prices to our shoppers".


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Malaysia: Dengue cases continue to soar, more than 7,000 cases this year

FAZLEENA AZIZ New Straits Times 25 Jan 16;

UTRAJAYA: Dengue cases are continuing to soar, with a total of 7,020 cases recorded nationwide from January 3 to 23.

The Health Ministry's iDengue website showed that Selangor still have the highest number of cases with 3,609. The website also indicates that Johor is not far behind with 1,137 cases.

This is followed by Kuala Lumpur (499), Penang (366), Perak (276) and Negri Sembilan (231) cases from Jan 3 to Jan 23. The only state that has remained off the dengue radar is Federal Territory Labuan while Putrajaya has 27 cases.

From Jan 3 to Jan 16, a total of 14 people have died of dengue. It was reported the scientific findings on the first dengue vaccine produced by French company, Sanofi, showed that it (vaccine) was only able to give effective protection to 47 per cent of dengue patients.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said the ministry was still not convinced with the use of dengue vaccine based on the local data collected.

He said the vaccine is only useful for those aged between 9 to 18/19, and not useful for those younger than nine-years-old.


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Malaysia: 1,920 shama birds rescued from wildlife smugglers

YEE XIANG YUN The Star 26 Jan 16;

PONTIAN: The marine police have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 1,920 protected shama birds (Murai) worth RM57,600 out of the country.

Marine police Southern Region II commander Asst Comm Paul Khiu Khon Chiang said the black and white coloured birds were found in makeshift cages made from plastic trays in Parit Semerah at around 11.30pm on Sunday.

He said they had earlier spotted a boat in the Pontian waters and decided to investigate.

“Our team of seven tried to get near it but upon noticing the authorities, it sped off towards Pontian Kecil.

“After a 20-minute chase, the boat managed to shake us off and got to shallow waters near the shore, where the suspects escaped,” he said in a statement yesterday.

ACP Khiu said after searching the area, they found the protected birds kept near some rocks in Parit Semerah.

“We believe that the birds were meant to be smuggled into neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that the case was being investigated under Section 60(2) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for possessing or hunting protected wildlife species.

He added that all the birds had been brought to the Kukup marine police station and the case had been handed over to the Johor Baru Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) for investigations.


Marine police foil bird smugglers and recover almost 2,000 magpies
RIZALMAN HAMMIM New Straits Times 25 Jan 16;

PONTIAN: The marine police foiled an attempt to smuggle out almost 2,000 protected birds worth more than RM57,000 here on Sunday night.

Marine Police Region Two commander, Assistant Commissioner Paul Khiu Khon Chiang said a team led by Assistant Superintendent Mohd Shahril Muhammad Razali spotted a speedboat heading towards Pontian Kecil at about 10.30pm.

"After a 20-minute chase, the patrol boat found the speed boat in shallow waters. All its crew members escaped.

"We found 96 cages containing 1,920 magpies (murai kampung), which is a protected species," said Khiu.

He said the birds were valued at about RM57,600 and were taken to the Kukup marine police tactical base.

The case is being investigated under Section 60(2) of the Wildlife Conservation Act for hunting or keeping protected species.

The case has been handed over to the Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department.


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Malaysia: 13 pangolins worth RM10,400 found hidden in car boot

The Star 27 Jan 16;

MUAR: Thirteen pangolins, worth some RM10,400, were found stashed in blue sacks and hidden inside the car boot of a Proton Wira at Parit Jamil here.

Marine police were patrolling the shores of Parit Jamil at around 1.30am when they noticed a car parked at the beach area, said marine police Southern Region II commander Asst Comm Paul Khiu Khon Chiang.

“As my men approached the car, two male suspects ran out and escaped into the mangroves nearby,” he said here yesterday.

Police then inspected the car and found the pangolins, which are protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716).

“The 13 pangolins weighed about 4kg each and we believe that the animals could fetch some RM200 per kg in the market,” he said.

ACP Khiu said the animals were taken to the Muar marine police jetty.

The case has been handed over to the Johor Baru Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) for investigations as it involved exotic animals and wildlife, he added.


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Malaysia: Police on alert as high tides hit Terengganu

The Star 26 Jan 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu police are ready to deploy some of its personnel at coastal areas, including holiday beaches, which are at risk of the high tide phenomenon which has swept the East Coast state.

State police chief Datuk Rosli Ab Rahman said motorcycle patrol units as well as patrol cars have been mobilised to monitor and advise the public not to approach or conduct any activities near the sea during the phenomenon.

"If there are any untoward incidents, it would be difficult to carry out rescue operations. I would like to advise those living near coastal areas to remain vigilant and cautious," he told reporters here Tuesday.

The advice was also addressed to people visiting the resorts and beaches in Setiu, Besut and Kemaman.

He stressed that the phenomenon should not be taken lightly and the public needs to remain alert as the phenomenon is expected to continue until early Feb.

Meanwhile, Kuala Nerus District Disaster Management Secretariat chief Lt M Ahmad Kamal Hakim said the high tides lashed at several houses in Kampung Tengah Mengabang Telipot and Kampung Tanjung Gelam affecting 37 individuals from nine families.- Bernama


16 families evacuated as eight-metre high waves lash Kelantan
KALBANA PERIMBANAYAGAM New Straits Times 26 Jan 16;

KOTA BARU: Sixteen families were forced to evacuate their homes in Pantai Pasir Kundur here last night after high waves and high water flooded their neighbourhood.

The families were evacuated about 9pm after the sea level rose, with waves as high as eight-metres slamming the shores where most of the houses were located.

The families were evacuated by the Fire and Rescue Department personnel in two trucks, as roads were not inaccessible to light vehicles.

The families are currently staying at SK Pantai Kundur until the water level returns to normal.

However, the weather forecast has cautioned of continuous strong wind and rain in the east coast states.

The adverse weather, which is also affecting Sabah and Sarawak, is expected to last until tomorrow.


High tides and floods force 39 residents to evacuate
The Star 27 Jan 16;

KOTA BARU: Thirty-nine residents at Kampung Pantai Kundor here were evacuated to a relief centre due to floods caused by high tides.

Civil defence officer Mohd Safi­yan Ibrahim said the villagers were relocated to the centre at SK Pulau Kundor after the floods rose up to about 2m at 11.45pm on Monday.

He said eight civil defence personnel and 11 firemen monitored the situation from a command centre, adding that the high tides were due to El Nino as cautioned by the Meteorological Department.

He said vehicles were also on standby in the area in case students needed to be evacuated.

Pengkalan Chepa Umno division chief Datuk Zaluzi Sulaiman visited the command and relief centres to assist the victims.

Villager Mohd Azmi Ramli, 34, said he was instructed to move out from his home when the flood wa­­ters started to rise on Monday night.

He said his family members were taken to the centre on a fire engine.


Waves crash into homes
SHARANPAL SINGH RANDHAWA The Star 27 Jan 16;

KUALA NERUS: Huge waves caused severe erosion along the coastal stretch in Mengabang Telipot here – damaging several houses and for­cing nine families to be evacuated.

The affected villagers, compri­sing 37 people from nine families, were from Kampung Tanjung Ge­­lam and Kampung Tengah. They are staying with their relatives.

Terengganu Civil Defence Depart­ment deputy director (operations) Mejar Amirsarifudin Zalman said the residents of the coastal villages had been advised to stay alert.

“According to the Meteorological Department, coastal villagers can expect strong waves as high as 5m and winds up to 60kph,” he said yesterday.

Apart from the victims, other resi­­dents along the coastal areas are also living in fear as the waves had broken through the barriers.

Many families are undecided on whether to move out as they are concerned about their belongings.

Fisherman Abdullah Mat Isa, 52, from Kampung Tanjung Gelam whose house was partially destroy­ed, said the strong waves he saw yesterday were the worst in the 19 years he’d lived there.

“I was watching TV in the hall at about 5pm when I saw the waves getting stronger. At about 9.30pm, they were smashing against the kitchen wall. All of a sudden, the kitchen wall collapsed,” he added.

Abdullah said his wife, Hani Awi, 45, and 18-year-old daughter ran out of the house, fearing that the house would collapse.

“We gathered all important documents and moved to a relative’s house,” he added.

Keropok seller Kamariah @ Iman Abu Bakar saw her processing barn destroyed by the strong waves.

The erosion caused by the waves also saw coconut trees along the beach uprooted.


Terengganu gov to set up temporary breakwater in Kuala Nerus
ZARINA ABDULLAH New Straits Times 27 Jan 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: State Government has allocated RM1 million to set up a temporary breakwater near Kampung Tanjung Gelam in Kuala Nerus.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the allocation was immediately approved to avoid more damages at the beach.

Ahmad Razif said this yesterday to reporters after visiting the affected area in Kampung Tanjung Gelam, where he also handed over incentives to seven affected house owners.

He visited the village with his wife Toh Puan Halina Zakaria, State Police Chief Datuk Rosli Ab Rahman, Kuala Nerus Umno division Deputy Chief Datuk Basir Ismail and District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Idris Abdul Rafar.

Ahmad Razif said the government will be assisting the victims by offering them affordable houses.

On Jan 25, two houses were damaged while five others in dangerous positions when strong winds and rough sea condition hit the area at 10pm.


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Malaysia: Rare Borneo bay cat spotted

The Star 27 Jan 16;

THE elusive Borneo bay cat was spotted in Sarawak recently, reported Kosmo!.

Known scientifically as Pardofelis badia, the elusive animal was spotted in the Lundu area by a group of researchers from the Sarawak Forestry Department led by Dr Ahmad Ampeng.

According to department director Sapuan Ahmad, the find was the result of a five-year study at the area named Heart of Borneo, a large rainforest in the middle of Borneo overlapping the borders of Malaysia, Kalimantan and Brunei.

Sapuan said the sighting showed that the cats were scattered around the rainforest as they had been spotted in the Mulu National Park, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, Pulong Tau National Park and Anap Muput forest before.

He added that the sighting would open up new areas of research on the species.

Sarawak forest dept, researchers come across rare wild cat species
New Straits Times 25 Jan 16;

KUCHING: A team of researchers from the Sarawak Forest Department has come across a very rare wild cat from the Bay Cat (Pardofelis badia) species in the forest of Lundu recently. According to the department director Sapuan Ahmad, the studies on wild cat were part of a five-year research project in the Heart of Borneo area.

The Heart of Borneo located right in the middle of the island is a 22-million hectare of rainforest area shared by Brunei, Kalimantan Indonesia and Malaysia.

In a statement here today, Sapuan said the species had only been recorded in the Mulu National Park, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, Pulong Tau and Anap Muput National Parks, all in the state.

The finding, he said, showed that the species was widely scattered. “It also indicates richness of the biodiversity in our state forest.

“As such the state will make more efforts to increase the areas under its Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) from time to time,” he said.

He commended the team under Dr Ahmad Ampeng for the finding.

Meanwhile recalling his experiences, Ahmad said the finding would open a wider area for researches on the wild cat based on the colours and physical body shapes. “We need to do DNA studies to confirm if the species found throughout the state are different from each other.

“Admittedly, this is no easy task to accomplish,” he said. --Bernama


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Indonesia: Three foreign countries to help in peat land restoration

Antara 26 Jan 16;

Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Three foreign countries will help South Sumatra in restoring its peat lands to be productive again after being damaged by forest fires last year.

The Netherlands, Britain and Norway have offered assistance to preserve peat lands in the province, Najib Asmani, a climate expert staff of the provincial governor said here on Tuesday.

Najib said the plan is to prevent forest and bush fires , which have badly damaged the environment in 2015.

He said cooperation with the foreign countries would include in taking inventory of data, strengthening institutions and empowerment of the local people living around forest areas.

He said in preventing forest and bush fires, the provincial administration did not rely only on cooperation with the foreign countries.

"We will have much to do ourselves such as drawing maps of areas vulnerable to forest fires and making the people more aware of the extent of damage that could be inflicted by forest fire," he said.

Earlier, South Sumatra military commander Brig. Gen Komarudin Simanjuntak pledged military support to prevent recurrence of forest and bush fires in the province.

The military would set up monitoring posts to be able to move as early as possible in the event of fires, the general said.

South Sumatra was one of the hardest hit by last years big forest fires that sent haze of thick smokes as far as neighboring countries - Malaysia and Singapore.


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Indonesia: Floods destroy thousands of hectares of farmland

Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post 26 Jan 16;

The floods affecting a number of regions in Riau, Aceh and Bali have not only engulfed residential areas but also thousands of hectares of farmland, currently causing widespread crop failure.

In Kuantan Singingi regency, Riau, 1,012 hectares of rice fields have been destroyed after being swamped by floods since early January.

“The seedlings have just been planted, but they have been engulfed by flood water for weeks and have died,” said Kuantan Singingi Agriculture and Food Crop Office head Maisir on Monday.

To relieve the burden on farmers, the office has requested seedling assistance from the Riau Agriculture Office and the Agriculture Ministry.

“We have proposed the immediate provision of seedlings from the National Seedling Reserve so that farmers can immediately replant their crops,” said Maisir.

In Rokan Hulu regency, since Jan. 14, floods have engulfed more than 25 hectares of gogo rain-dependent rice crops in Rokan Timur village, Rokan IV Koto district.

As many as 17 hectares of rice crops between 120 and 130 days old have been damaged after being swept flat by the swollen river.

“The total area of gogo rice paddies in Rokan IV Koto district is 1,032 hectares. The other areas were spared by the floods. Those swept by floods are located close to the river basin area,” said Rokan Hulu Food Crop and Horticulture Office head Mubrizal.

Although not as seriously hit as Kuantan Singingi, Mubrizal expressed hope the Riau Agriculture Office would help to provide new seedlings for farmers.

“We have submitted a proposal to the province, but have yet to receive a reply,” he added.

In Bali, the Buleleng Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has provided four makeshift tents to accommodate flood evacuees in Musi and Penyabangan villages, in Gerokgak district, northern Bali.

“The tents are in anticipation of evacuees with no relatives in the area,” said Buleleng BPBD head Ketut Yasa in Singaraja on Monday.

Yasa added that based on data gathered by the district office, a total of 92 homes in both villages were damaged and destroyed.

“In Musi village, the flash flood destroyed seven homes and caused minor damage to dozens of others. Around 50 families were forced to evacuate. Meanwhile in Penyabangan village, eight homes were destroyed and dozens moderately damaged. Around 36 families there have been evacuated,” said Yasa.

In Aceh, the Central Aceh regency BPBD advised residents living at the flood and landslide locations in Kerawang village, Rusip Antara district, Central Aceh, to evacuate at least for the time being.

“We fear the landslide and mudflow potential remains given the high rainfall,” said Central Aceh BPBD head Jauhari, during a disaster-site inspection and relief aid distribution on Sunday.

He added that the number of evacuees from the landslide and mudslide on Jan. 23 had increased from 12 to 15 families.

Nine other families have evacuated to the homes of relatives or friends willing to accommodate them in Pantan Tengah village.


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Indonesia: Youth key to saving vulnerable primates: NGO

Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post 25 Jan 16;

The government and the general public, especially younger generations, must take a leading role in the fight against illegal primate trading, a business that has reached alarming levels in Indonesia, a wildlife protection NGO has declared.

ProFauna Indonesia’s West Java campaigner Rinda Aunillah Sirait said the demand for exotic primates such as lutung (tailed leaf monkeys) and kukang (slow lorises), for use as pets, continued to increase despite the shrinking populations of the species in the wild.

The organization’s media monitors identified 67 cases of illegal primate trading reported in the mass media last year, slightly lower than the 74 cases recorded in 2014.

Last year, the highest number of cases took place in East Java, with 16, followed by seven cases in West Java and five in Bali.

“The actual number of cases, however, is probably much higher if you consider all those that went unexposed,” she said, adding that some reported cases had used social media, like Facebook, as a trading platform.

There are currently 600 primate species in the world, with 40 of them found in Indonesia. Some 70 percent of the primate species in Indonesia, according to ProFauna, are now vulnerable to extinction due to extensive deforestation and illegal poaching.

Apart from law enforcement, Rinda said, a campaign to protect rare primates must also involve young people, where demand for primates as exotic pets mostly comes from.

“These young people, for example, must know that to obtain a baby lutung, the poachers must kill its mother first,” she said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) previously listed the Javan lutung, one of many lutung species, as endangered but in 2008 later updated its status to vulnerable.

The organization has also listed the Javan kukang and the Bornean kukang as critically endangered and vulnerable species, respectively.

According to the 1990 law on biological resources and ecosystem conservation, a person who buys or sells a protected species can be punished with a maximum five years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,240).

West Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) technical division head Munarto, however, thinks that the law fails to create a significant deterrent effect.

“So far, the highest punishment for such cases has been two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Meanwhile, the amount of money earned through the illegal trade remains tempting,” he said.


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Climate change: Ocean warming underestimated

Researchers at Uni Bonn: Ocean warming plays a bigger role than previously believed
UNIVERSITY OF BONN EurekAlert 25 Jan 16;

To date, research on the effects of climate change has underestimated the contribution of seawater expansion to sea level rise due to warming of the oceans. A team of researchers at the University of Bonn has now investigated, using satellite data, that this effect was almost twice as large over the past twelve years than previously assumed. That may result in, for example, significantly increased risks of storm surges. The scientists are presenting their findings in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

In principle, water in the oceans acts like a mercury thermometer: when the temperature goes up, the liquid expands and climbs up the little tube. Since the world's oceans are similarly locked in between the continents, their levels also rise when they heat up due to rising temperatures. "In the deeper parts of the ocean, even a small amount of warming is enough to create a significant rise in sea level," says Dr.-Ing. Roelof Rietbroek from the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn. An increase of several millimeters a year, he says, is not rare in deep-sea zones.

"To date, we have underestimated how much the heat-related expansion of the water mass in the oceans contributes to a global rise in sea level," says Dr. J├╝rgen Kusche, Professor of Astronomical, Physical and Mathematical Geodesy at the University of Bonn. Together with researchers at the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) in Potsdam and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, the geodesists used gravity field data from the GRACE satellites and sea-level measurements from the altimeters on Jason-1 and Jason-2 to calculate how much sea levels had risen, both due to warming-related expansion of the water and due to the increase of ocean mass from 2002 to 2014.

Effect is twice as large as the melting ice masses in Greenland

Until now, it was assumed that sea levels rose an average of 0.7 to 1.0 millimeters a year due to this "thermometer effect." According to the new calculations, however, the ocean's expansion contributed with about 1.4 millimeters a year -- in other words, almost twice as much as previously assumed. "This height difference corresponds to roughly twice the volume from the melting ice sheets in Greenland," says Dr. Rietbroek.

In addition, the sea-level rise varies strongly due to volume expansion in various ocean regions along with other effects. According to the research team's calculations, the Philippines hold the record with about 15 millimeters a year, while the levels are largely stable on the West Coast of the United States -- because there is hardly any ocean warming in that region.

Risk of storm surges could increase significantly

The main areas threatened by rising sea levels are coastal settlements, where regional changes can play a greater role than the global increase. "No country will raise its levees because of a couple of millimeters," says Dr. Rietbroek. "But these small amounts add up to several centimeters within decades. Under such conditions, the likelihood of a destructive storm surge could increase dramatically." From the perspective of the research team, it is thus worth keeping an eye on the expansion-related sea-level rise in the world's oceans in light of climate change. Little measurement data is available, they say, to show how much the oceans are warming up and expanding at depths of thousands of meters in conjunction with rising global air temperatures.

"Up to now, the physical expansion processes in the deep sea have been considered only to a limited extent," says the geodesy researcher from the University of Bonn. However, he says, they play a key role in estimating the climate effects. Therefore it would be highly interesting to observe future heat-related expansion of the world's oceans, using new satellite missions, and to reinterpret measurement data from the past. A longer observation period will help show what proportion of the rise in sea level is due to human activity, and what proportion is due to natural causes. Dr. Rietbroek: "In addition, the estimated trend in sea level is much less affected by natural fluctuations compared to the observed trend in global temperatures, so it is a more reliable indicator of climate change."

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Publication: Revisiting the Contemporary Sea Level Budget on Global and Regional Scales, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519132113


Ocean warming 'underestimated', study finds
The amount of sea level rise that comes from the oceans warming and expanding has been underestimated, and is likely about twice as much as previously calculated.

Channel NewsAsia 26 Jan 16;

MIAMI: The amount of sea level rise that comes from the oceans warming and expanding has been underestimated, and is likely about twice as much as previously calculated, German researchers said Monday.

The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, suggest that increasingly severe storm surges could be anticipated as a result.

Sea level can mount due to two factors -- melting ice and the thermal expansion of water as it warms.

Until now, researchers have believed the oceans rose between 0.7 to one millimeter per year due to thermal expansion.

But a fresh look at the latest satellite data from 2002 to 2014 shows the seas are expanding about 1.4 millimeters a year, said the study.

"To date, we have underestimated how much the heat-related expansion of the water mass in the oceans contributes to a global rise in sea level," said co-author Jurgen Kusche, a professor at the University of Bonn.

The overall sea level rise rate is about 2.74 millimeters per year, combining both thermal expansion and melting ice.

Sea level rise was also found to vary substantially from place to place, with the rate around the Philippines "five times the global rate."

Meanwhile, sea level on the US West Coast is largely stable because there is hardly any ocean warming in that area, said the findings.

- AFP/jb


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