Best of our wild blogs: 31 May 16

4 Jun (Sat): Visit RUM at Pulau Ubin for Pesta Ubin!
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

To conserve or not to conserve
BES Drongos

Love MacRitchie Update July 2015-May 2016

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Presents Palaeontology workshops for school students and educators
News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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SGX Sustainability Indices launched

The SGX Sustainability Indices aim to provide an avenue for investors to assess the sustainability practices of SGX-listed companies, and identify environmental, social and governance (ESG) leaders in Singapore.
Channel NewsAsia 30 May 16;

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Monday (May 30) announced the launch of the SGX Sustainability Indices, which aim to provide an avenue for investors to assess the sustainability practices of SGX-listed companies, and identify environmental, social and governance (ESG) leaders in Singapore.

In a media release, SGX said the SGX Sustainability Indices are composed of SGX-listed stocks introduced by SGX Index Edge, while SGX partner Sustainalytics provided the ESG research and ratings for SGX-listed companies which underpin the Indices.

"In addition to meeting the necessary ESG requirements, companies must also meet (the) minimum liquidity requirement in order to qualify for inclusion," SGX said in the media release.

SGX added that the introduction of the SGX Sustainability Index suite complements the bourse's efforts to enhance disclosure and access to sustainability information, including the introduction of sustainability reporting for listed companies on a "comply or explain" basis.

In January 2016, SGX sought public feedback on proposed rules and a guide for sustainability reporting.

- CNA/dl

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Boy chased, hurt in wild boar incident in Punggol

He's taken to hospital after chase by wild boar, woman spots wild boar in the same area
DARRYL LAIU, NG JUN SEN The New Paper 31 May 16;

A boy was hurt after he was chased by a wild boar on Sunday afternoon in Punggol.

The incident happened at about 2.15pm near Block 184 in Edgefield Plains.

The boy was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital in an ambulance, a Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said.

When The New Paper approached the boy's father at his flat yesterday, he declined to comment other than to say the boy is at home and feeling better.

Stomp contributor Ferlyn posted a video of a wild boar in the vicinity of Block 106B in Edgefield Plains on the citizen journalism website yesterday.

She said she was in a lorry at about 3.30pm on Sunday when she came across the animal.

Her husband, who was driving, followed the animal for about two minutes as it raced down the middle of the two-lane road.

It then ran up the pavement and into a housing estate.

It is unclear where the animal went and whether it is the same wild boar that chased the boy.

TNP asked residents in the area if they had seen the wild boar on Sunday afternoon.

While there have been reports of wild boar sightings, none of the residents said they had seen the wild boar.

Officials from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are conducting control operations in Punggol.

This is in response to reports of wild boar sightings in the area, its spokesman told TNP yesterday.

"Members of the public who encounter wild boars should stay calm and not approach the animal," the spokesman added.


Last year, an AVA spokesman said it has been conducting operations in the area after reports of wild boars and wild dogs at a field close to Edgefield Plains.

According to a joint advisory by AVA, National Parks Board and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, wild boars are native here and their quick reproductive rates mean they are increasingly spotted all over the island.

Wild boars primarily feed on seeds, tubers and young plants.

"The increase in the population of wild boars may result in a higher frequency of human-wild boar conflict," said the advisory.

"Although they appear shy, they are still wild animals and are unpredictable in behaviour which could pose a risk to public safety."

It warns that wild boars can attack if they are cornered or feel threatened. Their speed, sharp teeth and solid build can result in "serious injuries in case of an attack" and are "particularly dangerous when involved in car accidents".

The advisory gives three tips to avoid injury:

Be calm and move slowly away from the animal. Do not approach or attempt to feed the animal.
Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal. For example, do not use a flash to take a picture of it.
If you see adults with piglets, leave them alone. They are potentially more dangerous as they may attempt to defend their young.
Incidents involving wild boars

April 21, 2016

A 49-year-old motorcyclist was thrown several metres after he crashed into a wild boar on the Seletar Expressway.

The accident, which happened at about 8.30pm, killed the wild boar.

The motorcyclist was taken to hospital where he was treated for abrasions and pain in his right shoulder.

June 17, 2015

Sightings of wild boars and wild dogs in Edgefield Plains in Punggol were reported to the Agri-food and Vetinary Authority Singapore.

Some residents reportedly carried wooden sticks to defend themselves against the animals.

Nov 30, 2013

Five wild boar piglets were rescued by a man from a drain in the Thomson area.

The resident of Springleaf estate found the piglets stranded on a ledge in the drain after a heavy downpour.

The piglets were subsequently released on a wild boar trail in Mandai forest.

Sept 16, 2012

A 64-year-old woman fell and broke her hip when a wild boar charged at her during an outing to Pulau Ubin.

The woman was on an excursion with a group who were reportedly taking pictures and feeding the animals. One of the boars charged at her from behind, causing her to fall.

She was taken to hospital.

Sept 5, 2012

A wild boar was killed when it was hit by a car at Upper Thomson Road.

The driver said the animal had dashed out suddenly from the bushes at the side of the road. His car was dented in the accident.

June 22, 2012

A five-year-old boy and a Cisco officer were injured in a wild boar attack at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

The animal reportedly rammed into the boy and knocked down the patrolling officer, who hurt his hand in the fall.

Boy hurt by wild boar in Punggol discharged from hospital
Lee Min Kok, My Paper AsiaOne 1 Jun 16;

A BOY who was taken to hospital after a wild boar reportedly chased and injured him in Punggol has returned home.

The boy, whose age is unknown, was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital on Sunday after the Singapore Civil Defence Force was alerted to an incident at Block 184 Edgefield Plains at 2.17pm and dispatched an ambulance.

However, it was not clear what injuries the boy suffered.

When approached at his flat on Monday, the boy's father would only say that his son had returned home and was feeling better, reported The New Paper.

Meanwhile, several people also said they spotted the creature in the neighbourhood.

A Facebook post by user Joanne Wan on Sunday night claimed that a wild boar about 1m in size had been spotted at the same block.

"It was last seen fleeing near Meridian LRT," she added.

A wild boar was also sighted in the vicinity by a contributor to citizen journalism website Stomp at around 3.30pm on the same day. She said the animal had dashed in front of a lorry she was in, near Block 106B.

In response to queries, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said it had received feedback on wild boar sightings in the Punggol area and was conducting control operations.

"Members of the public who encounter wild boars should stay calm and not approach the animal," said a spokesman.

The presence of wild boars in the area is not new.

Last year, residents of Edgefield Plans also complained to the AVA regarding wild boars, with some even resorting to carrying wooden sticks to defend themselves.

A recent joint advisory by the AVA, National Parks Board (NParks) and Wildlife Reserves Singapore states that the wild boar is native to Singapore. It can weigh up to 100kg and has a lifespan of over 20 years.

The advisory said the animals are increasingly spotted all over the island in recent years, due to their quick reproduction rates, presence of ideal foraging habitats and the lack of natural predators.

"Although they appear shy, they are still wild animals and are unpredictable in behaviour which could pose a risk to public safety," the advisory said.

"Like many other wild animals, wild boars will only attack if they are cornered or if they feel threatened."

The three tips when one encounters wild boars are:

Be calm and move slowly away from the animal. Do not approach or attempt to feed the animal;

Keep a safe distance and do not corner or provoke the animal, such as using a flash while taking pictures of it;

If you see adults with young piglets, leave them alone. These are potentially more dangerous because they may attempt to protect their young.

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Adequate planning key to mitigating 'urban heat island' effect: Teo Ho Pin

High-rise buildings which block wind and have large surfaces to absorb heat, the lack of vegetation and the heat generated by energy usage are some causes of the phenomenon.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 30 May 16;

SINGAPORE: As a high-density city, Singapore is susceptible to urban heat island effect. Hence, adequate planning to mitigate the effect is crucial, said Mayor of North West District Dr Teo Ho Pin on Monday (May 30).

The urban heat island effect - where temperatures in urban areas are significantly higher than in rural areas - is increasingly becoming a concern in cities worldwide. High-rise buildings which block wind and have large surfaces to absorb heat, the lack of vegetation and the heat generated by energy usage are some causes of the phenomenon.

In Singapore, more than 80 per cent of the nation's population live in approximately 1 million Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats across 23 towns.

To look for solutions to improve the urban environment and lower temperatures, more than 200 scientists, engineers, builders and architects worldwide gathered at the Fourth International Conference on Countermeasure to Urban Heat Islands, which is being held for the first time in Singapore.

Dr Teo also said “eco-towns” are developed to counter the effect. “For example, in our Punggol Eco-town developed by the HDB, residential blocks are designed through passive design strategy, strategically oriented to face the prevailing winds in order to maximise natural cross ventilation," he added.

According to Dr Teo, smart technology and eco-friendly features are also embedded into our towns and homes. He revealed that solar photovoltaic system is installed on the housing blocks rooftops as a clean and sustainable energy to meet part of the energy demand in the estate, while energy efficient lighting and motion sensors are used along common corridors and staircases.

Dr Teo also highlighted Singapore's greening efforts to transform it into a city in a garden, like building more parks and waterways, as well as incorporating green spaces in high-rise buildings.

- CNA/xk

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Malaysia: Enjoy Kaamatan but stay away from bush meat -- WWF

The Star 30 May 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Do enjoy and aramai ti (Kadazandusun term for let’s be merry) this harvest festival with one exception – stay off the bush meats.

As Sabahans begin their Kaama­tan celebrations today, WWF Malay­sia has reminded all about the im­­portance of wildlife conservation.

It says the best way to contribute is to avoid buying or consuming wild meat and wildlife-based pro­ducts.

“This Kaamatan, let us be responsible by appreciating the forests and wildlife that we have been blessed with. Let us also send a strong signal to poachers of wildlife and traders to stop their act.

“Together, everything is possible,” WWF executive director Datuk Dr Dionysus Sharma said in a statement yesterday.

He said a survey by WWF showed that 56% of the people interviewed consumed wildlife meat, with 14% admitting that they bought wildlife products.

He said the bearded pig (509 hunted down) and sambar deer (120) were among the most popular wildlife hunted, adding that 85% of the animals caught were for the hunters’ own consumption.

“The others are the pangolin, snake, crocodile, monitor lizard, monkey, civet, and barking deer,’’ he said, adding that turtle eggs were also among the most popular items.

The survey from May to June 2015 sampled 353 households in 66 villages spanning Tenom, Nabawan, Pensiangan and Ulu Pinangah.

Dr Sharma said an earlier wildlife trade study from April to July 2014 monitored 871 animals, of which 137 were native to Sabah.

The bearded pig had topped the list of traded mammals back then (86 pigs), followed by the sambar deer (21).

He said many of Sabah’s unique wildlife species were seriously declining in numbers due to illegal and unsustainable hunting, loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict.

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Indonesia: NGOs’ changing roles in sustainable agro industry

Edi Purwanto and Soren Moestrup Jakarta Post 30 May 16;

Indonesia’s economic development and resource utilization are largely driven by global demand. At present a large part of natural-resource management is in the hands of the private sector.

Palm oil is a prime example, as the unprecedented growth in global demand, during the past 20 years, has resulted in major changes in land use in the country. Without strong governance and law enforcement on natural resources and land use, the expansion of palm oil production has resulted in a dramatic loss of forests through deforestation, as well as ecosystem degradation.

During the last decade, growing consumer expectations that agro-commodities should be environment friendly and sustainably produced have provided drivers for civil society campaigns on investor and company producer practices to better comply with environmentally friendly and socially sensitive commodities. Such consumer expectations and campaigns have become new drivers of sustainable resource management and utilization in production chains, as well as at landscape level and have as such supported the government in law enforcement on the sustainable production and use of natural resources.

Consumers and investors are participating in commodity-specific forums, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ( RSPO ), which has initiated strict standards preventing oil-palm plantation development in areas with a high carbon stock ( HCS ) or of high conservation value ( HCV ). The sustainability standards, to which RSPO members are committed, can lead to a positive environmental impact on the development of new palm oil plantations. RSPO members have an obligation to compensate HCV areas that have been lost to deforestation since 2005.

Given RSPO members control the largest palm oil concessions in the country, the scheme, in combination with a declining palm oil price, reduced the establishment of palm oil plantations by more than half a million hectares per annum in the period of 2007-2013.

Consumer expectations on environmentally friendly and sustainably produced agro-commodities have also led to an unprecedented increase in the number of companies that have adopted strict environmental regulations on sustainable management and production systems.

Prime examples include APP Pulp and Paper, which in 2013 first published its sustainability targets announcing an immediate halt to natural forest clearing throughout the supply chain. Major palm oil companies Wilmar International, Cargil Inc., Golden Agri Resources, Asian Agri and Musim Mas have signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge ( IPOP ), “No deforestation, no peat, no exploitation policy”, which is a commitment to transparency, accountability and to ensuring compliance of all third-party suppliers. Oil palm and pulpwood plantations take up about 11 million ha and 3.5 million ha ( out of 10 million ha granted permits ) of land in Indonesia, respectively.

The growing concerns on environmental safeguards have also been well responded to by the government. As part of a larger goal of reducing deforestation and carbon emissions, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo extended, in May 2015, a moratorium on the clearing of primary forests and peatlands.

It was the second time the ban on issuing concessions to plantation companies had been renewed since a presidential decree was issued in 2011. In May 2016 the President plans to issue a decree on the suspension of new oil-palm plantation development. This applies to the suspension of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s authority to release convertible state production forests ( outside the existing moratorium map ) for palm oil plantations.

How do the conservation NGOs in this country respond to this development?

NGOs have come to realize that anti-corporate demonstrations, organized boycotts, and protests can be far more effective and powerful than anti-government campaigns, particularly when targeting established, reputable global brands. In response, corporations have attempted to identify and select the available areas and opportunities to cooperate with NGOs to cement fruitful relationships. Some leading conservation NGOs are involved in safeguarding the environmental sustainability of leading palm oil and pulp and paper companies.

When building partnerships with the private sector, the NGOs should not forget their long-term watchdog function and therefore continuously monitor the environmental effects of private companies’ involvement in the protection of Indonesia’s natural resources.

NGOs should be able to manage the impacts of IPOP on smallholder plantations; they have to facilitate buyers, producers, banks and other financial institutions with a practical guide on how to engage with smallholder farming-related challenges and opportunities, especially on access to markets, financing innovation, improving legality, preventing deforestation and remediating agricultural labor problems.

With reliable, verified and well-framed evidence, NGOs have strategic roles in assisting government and frontrunner companies to create and strengthen strategies in multi-stakeholder dialogues on policy change that improve smallholder resilience and sustainability.

Edi Purwanto is a director of Tropenbos International Indonesia. Soren Moestrup is senior adviser at the Department of geoscience and natural resource management at the University of Copenhagen.

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Indonesia: High tides slam west, south coasts

Slamet Susanto The Jakarta Post 30 May 16;

High tides caused by changing pressure in the oceans have damaged dozens of ships and swept away residents’ possessions along the coasts of Yogyakarta and Aceh over the past few days.

On Depok beach, Yogyakarta, which is located on the south coast of Java, the homes and ships were hit by 5-meter high tides that swept away furniture from residents’ houses.

“There was no structural damage, but many tables and chairs were swept away by the tides,” Dardi Nugroho, a resident and a food stall owner at the beach, said on Sunday.

Fishermen were also unprepared for the high tides.

“More than 20 ships have been damaged. Fishermen did not see this coming. Dozens of fish nets are gone,” he said.

In Gunungkidul, dozens of boats are also heavily damaged.

“Boats were docked next to each other at the beach when the tides came. So they crashed into each other and were broken,” said Yanto, a fisherman from Baron beach, Gunungkidul.

Marjono, a search and rescue team member at Baron beach, said a total of 95 boats had been damaged and reminded fishermen to temporarily halt going out to the sea for the next week while waiting the tides to recede.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency ( BMKG ) office in Sabang, Aceh, also reminded residents of the country’s most-northern area, We Island, not to go fishing due to strong winds and high tides.

“Sabang and nearby regions will experience downpours, strong winds and high tides so we ask fishermen to stay at home until the weather improves,” said BMKG Sabang office head Siswanto, as quoted by Antara news agency.

He said that the strong winds along the north eastern part of We Island were caused by low pressure in Philippine waters.

Siswono also said that the generally bad weather in several parts of the country was caused by Madden-Julian Oscillation ( MJO ), a moving system of wind, cloud and atmospheric pressure that brings rain as it circles around the equator. The MJO is currently located at the western part of Indonesia, he added

“The MJO’s position has caused a lot of air in the clouds, causing the strong wind and high tides,” he said.

He predicted that the bad weather will continue until Tuesday.

The BMKG office in Aceh’s Meulaboh-Nagan Raya made a similar appeal to residents along the west coast of Aceh.

“All this week, there is a 3.5-meter high tide and strong wind. People should remain alert,” said BMKG Meulaboh-Nagan Raya office head Edi Darlupti on Sunday, as quoted by

Edi said residents in West Aceh should also be careful if spending their time along the beaches and avoid swimming in the open ocean.

“Now the waves at the beaches have reached 3-meters high. Please do not swim in the ocean at the moment,” he said.

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