Best of our wild blogs: 22 Jun 16

Coral bleaching at Cyrene Reef
wonderful creation

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Spike in demand for blue tangs, clownfish after launch of Finding Dory

SPCA urges all potential pet owners to make sure they are ready to invest the time and energy before buying them.
Lee Li Ying, Channel NewsAsia 22 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE: Blue tangs and clownfish have been in demand following the release of animated feature film "Finding Dory" last week.

According to an aquarium shop owner whom Channel NewsAsia spoke to, he has seen a 10 per cent increase in demand for blue tangs and clownfish over the weekend.

He usually brings in 10 blue tangs each time and it takes nearly two weeks to clear them. However, he sold nine over the last weekend and all his clownfish were also sold out. More than 10 have been restocked on Tuesday morning (Jun 21).

Blue tangs and clownfish are marine animals, so it takes more effort to ensure that the water condition in the aquarium is suitable for them. So while the price of a clownfish may be below S$6 and a blue tang costs under S$30, the cost of setting up such an aquarium is at least S$500.

Director of Fresh 'N' Marine Aquarium, Edmund Lim, explained: "You need to have a proper tank with seawater, which is properly measured on the salinity level. Make sure there is a filter system running and that it is matured, cycled properly before introducing any livestock, corals or fish. It typically takes about three weeks to be safe."

Pet shops can guide new owners, but they have to be in it for the long run. “We'll educate them on what to do and ask them not to be so impulsive,” Mr Lim added. “We'll guide them step by step in order to arrive at the final stage where they can actually put in the fish. It's not a very difficult hobby. It's more about the money and cost involved in setting up this marine system.”

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) fears that impulse purchase of pets can lead to neglect and even abandonment once the initial excitement wears off.

Executive director of SPCA, Jaipal Singh Gill, said: "Those species are marine species and a lot of people may not realise that when your release them into ponds or freshwater environments, they’re not going to survive.

“Even if they are not released into the marine animal environment, they are not from this area, and the chances of them surviving is extremely low and they’re likely to suffer a slow and painful death."

SPCA urges all potential pet owners to make sure they are ready to invest the time and energy before buying them.

It is also unclear if birds and terrapins have seen a spike in demand following the release of films like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Angry Birds", as pet store owners Channel NewsAsia spoke to declined to comment.

- CNA/xk

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Malaysia: Pahang and Johor cattle hit by FMD

LOH FOON FONG The Star 22 Jun 16;

PETALING JAYA: A foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak has put thousands of cattle at risk in four districts in Pahang and Johor and the Department of Veterinary Services has advised people to get their meat supply for the Hari Raya season elsewhere.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Kamarudin Mat Isa said the outbreak, which began on May 9 in Pahang, hit Felda Sungai Rentang and Kampung Paya Rajin in Jerantut, Kampung Baru Bukit Kuin in Maran and Felda Keratung in Rompin.

In Johor, Sungai Mengkuang and Endau in the Mersing district are affected, he said.

But he said the disease, which is different from the hand, foot and mouth disease that infects humans, was an animal disease and not zoonotic and would not infect human beings.

He added that the outbreak was still active in Jerantut and Mersing but was already under control in Maran and Rompin.

“We have been carrying out vaccination programmes in all the pla­ces that have FMD. The situation is under control,” he told The Star yesterday.

Since the outbreak, 114 heads of cattle were found with FMD in Pahang and 28 in Johor, he said.

Dr Kamarudin said the outbreak had put 10,800 cattle in Rompin at risk of being infected, followed by Jerantut 1,300 and Maran 1,150 while Mersing had 1,300.

Vaccination was carried out up to a 10km radius from the affected areas, he said.

He said no affected animals had died because the symptoms this time were rather mild.

“We observed the infection in the foot area and not in the mouth area such as blisters in the tongue, lips and gums,” he said.

Dr Kamarudin said that no animals would be allowed to be taken out from the areas for now.

“We are currently containing the disease in those locations and we have asked farmers not to move animals to other areas.

“We also advise farmers from other areas not to visit the outbreak areas because we would like to prevent the spread of the disease.”

On the concern over whether there would be adequate supply of cattle for the Raya season, Dr Kamarudin said it was estimated that the potential demand for the season from the affected areas was less than 600 cows, which was quite small, and he urged buyers and traders to get their supply from other districts or states.

“Our officers will not issue movement permit and enforcement officers will be patrolling the area to reduce the risk to people transporting sick animals to other pla­ces,” he said.

As to whether farmers could sell their cows after the quarantine period, he said they would have to get clearance from his officers.

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Indonesia: Authorities Foil Pangolin Smuggling Attempt Involving TNI Member N. Sumatra

Ayat S Karokaro & Mikhael Tamosee Jakarta Globe 20 Jun 16;

Jakarta. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry's Ranger Rapid Response Unit and an investigations team have successfully foiled a pangolin smuggling attempt in Medan, North Sumatra.

As reported by environmental website Mongabay, the authorities managed to arrest two perpetrators, including a member of the Indonesian Military (TNI), with eight critically endangered pangolins on the backseat of their vehicle on Saturday (18/06).

"We managed to arrest the culprits. One of them is a military member, and the other a civilian. Investigations are still ongoing," said Tulus Hutahuruk, head of law enforcement at the Sumatra Environment and Forestry authority.

During the raid, the TNI member, who is stationed in Padang, West Sumatra, allegedly showed his military identity card in the hope of getting police to back off. He also claimed that he was unaware that his friend had been transporting pangolins for sale on the black market.

Authorities say the TNI member will be handed over to the military police for further investigation.

Aceh-North Sumatra conservation area chief Haluanto Ginting believes the men were planning to trade the pangolins with another group of poachers in Medan.

"We're still investigating. One pangolin can cost around Rp 5 million [$375]. Multiplied by eight it will be more than Rp 40 million," Haluanto said.

The eight pangolins will be released back into the wild after undergoing health checks.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, pangolins are highly threatened due to growing demand in China for their meat and their keratin scales.

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Indonesia: Flooding paralyzes trans-Sulawesi highway

Ruslan Sangadji The Jakarta Post 22 Jun 16;

Heavy rains in Central Sulawesi since noon on Tuesday have inundated several villages in Parigi Moutong regency and cut off access to the trans-Sulawesi highway. The highway, which is located in Dolago and Masari villages in the regency, has been flooded since Tuesday afternoon. Knee-high flooding was also seen in paddy, settlements and roads.

Amran Amier, a local who had planned to leave Poso for Palu on Tuesday evening, claimed he was unable to continue his travels on account of the flooding.

“Many houses are inundated, it looks like a lake has formed,” said Amran.

Salahuddin, who drove from Poso to Palu on Tuesday evening, said he got stuck in traffic in Tolai village, Parigi Moutong, amid the flooding.

As of Wednesday, estimated losses incurred as a result of the flooding on the trans-Sulawesi highway had not been announced. The floods have also cut off access to a number of roads in Palu. Fruit vendors on Jl.Raden Saleh, East Palu, were unable to protect their goods when floodwaters swept in.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) office at the Mutiara SIS Aljufri Airport in Palu predicted high intensity rains on Wednesday and Thursday, especially in the eastern areas of Central Sulawesi such as Banggai, Tojo Unauna, Poso and Parigi Moutong regencies. High intensity rain is expected to continue in Palu.

“Morowali, North Morowali and southern Banggai will still have clear weather,” said BMKG Mutiara SIS Aljufri head Kasiron.

On Wednesday, he said, there would be intense cloud concentration in Ternate, Maluku. As winds moved to the west, this would affect weather in Banggai, Central Sulawesi.

Kasiron said heavy rains would potentially fall in Kilo village, North Poso Pesisir district, Poso regency, on Wednesday due to the creation of cumulonimbus clouds in the sky. “Kilo residents should stay alert,” said Kasiron. (ebf)

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