Best of our wild blogs: 2 Aug 16

13 Aug (Sat) - Free guided walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Monitoring our Reefs
Hantu Blog

Abandoned cats on Pulau Hantu: Update
Hantu Blog

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Temperatures could hit 35°C in next fortnight: Met Service

Channel NewsAsia 1 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: The first fortnight of August will see less rain compared with weather conditions in the second half of July, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said on Monday (Aug 1).

In a media release, MSS said daily maximum temperatures are likely to range between 33°C and 34°C, and could reach around 35°C on a few days in the first two weeks of this month.

Singapore can also expect short showers in the late mornings and early afternoons on four to five days over the next fortnight. Showers with gusty winds are also likely to occur on one or two days in the pre-dawn hours and mornings, MSS said.

Rainfall for the first fortnight of August 2016 is expected to be "slightly below normal", MSS added, with low-level winds blowing mostly from the southeast or southwest.


Looking at last month's weather, MSS said southwest monsoon conditions prevailed over the region.

Singapore saw a few warm days in the first half of July, where daily maximum temperatures ranged between 30.2°C and 36°C, but the weather was wetter in the second half of the month, resulting in a "relatively cooler fortnight with daily maximum temperatures ranging between 28.8°C and 34.7°C", MSS said.

It added that July was a "relatively wet" month. The heaviest rain fell on Jul 21 and brought a daily rainfall of 96.8mm to the East Coast area. Almost all of Singapore received above normal rainfall in July as well.

"The highest rainfall of 426mm (120 per cent above average) was recorded over the western part of the island around Tengah. Rainfall was lowest around Buangkok where 146.6mm (16 per cent below average) was recorded," MSS said.

- CNA/dl

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Utilities bill redesigned to help Singaporeans conserve water, electricity

Channel NewsAsia 1 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: Starting August, households in Singapore will receive a redesigned utilities bill to help them track and take steps to reduce their energy and water consumption.

The bill was redesigned based on feedback from usability tests with the public, said SP Services, Energy Market Authority (EMA), PUB and City Gas in a joint press release on Monday (Aug 1).

The new layout allows consumers to view utility usage at a glance, compare the average consumption of neighbours living in similar housing types or streets as well as the national average, and learn how they could be more efficient in their consumption.

Highlights from the redesigned bill include:

a. A concise bill summary to easily view one's account information;
b. Consumption graphs on the front showing previous months' usage and comparisons with neighbours' and national average consumption;
c. Personalised tips and advice on how to be more energy- and water-efficient;
d. The use of icons for improved clarity;
e. Larger text to emphasise important information such as "total amount".

Managing director of SP Services, Mr Chuah Kee Heng, said: "We designed the bill to help customers adopt more energy- and water-efficient habits. At a glance, they can clearly see their charges, consumption for the past five months and compare it with their efficient neighbours as well as the national average.

“It is one of several initiatives we have introduced to help customers make energy saving a way of life," he said.

In May, SP Services, together with EMA and PUB, launched a new mobile app to help consumers reduce energy and water consumption, lower their utilities bill and conserve the environment.

- CNA/cy

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Indonesia: Transforming Way Kambas into leading tourist destination

Hisar Sitanggang and Muklasin Antara 1 Aug 16;

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - East Lampung District Head Chusnunia Chalim has vowed to make the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) a leading tourist destination for both local and foreign tourists.

Motivated by the increasing number of tourists visiting the TNWK, the first-ever female district head of East Lampung is determined to transform the park into an international tourist destination.

As more than ten thousand domestic and foreign tourists have visited TNWK during the period between January and July 2016, Chalim is optimistic that the number of visitors would continue to increase.

Moreover, the number of tourists visiting the TNWK will continue to increase in the coming years after it was recently inaugurated as the 36th ASEAN Heritage Park.

With the announcement of the TNWK as the ASEAN Heritage Park, the noted tourist attraction in East Lampung now no longer belongs to Indonesia but also to the world.

"Therefore, all relevant parties in East Lampung should actively participate in developing TNWK into an international tourist destination," Chalim remarked.

Providing an excellent bird-watching location, with the presence of the rare white-winged wood duck, the TNWK is home to critically endangered species, such as the Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, and Sumatran rhinos.

With lowland rainforest as well as swamp, mangrove, and dry beach forests along with expanses of grassland, this national park is an ideal habitat for thousands of different species and offers exciting opportunities for visitors to experience some of Indonesias most diverse wildlife.

"Hence, we are making efforts to develop Way Kambas and transform it into a national and international tourist destination," the East Lampung district head emphasized.

The TNWK is an icon of East Lampung District and has been visited and known by people, both nationally and internationally, Nunik, as she is commonly called, noted.

East Lampung District is a rich, beautiful, and interesting area, with friendly people and several tourist attractions, she asserted.

The Great Hall of TNWK is also formulating a strategy to utilize trained domesticated elephants in the Elephant Conservation Center as a tourist attraction, according to Nunik.

In the meantime, TNWK Great Hall Public Relations Chief Sukatmoko said he was awaiting the governments ruling on the use of the Elephant Conservation Center as a tourist destination.

"We are still awaiting the ruling of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on the utilization of the elephants, so it can be enjoyed more by the visitors," Sukatmoko remarked.

He stated that the TNWK Great Hall was currently working on a plan to develop an ecotourism village as a secondary destination for visitors.

Sukatmoko noted that the tourists visiting the ecotourism village in TNWK will be able to experience the extensive flora and fauna and have the opportunity to witness and learn about the endangered Sumatran elephant, rhinoceros, and tiger along with a vast array of other exotic animals, such as monkeys, tapirs, leopards, and birds.

"The development of ecotourism aims at increasing the number of tourist visits to TNWK in addition to boosting the economy of the local community," Sukatmono affirmed.

He further explained that the ecotourism village also offered homestays, various handicrafts of the local village, and a variety of cuisines typical to the region for the visitors.

According to Sukatmono, the Great Hall of TNWK is collaborating with local NGOs to develop and manage the ecotourism village.

Given its numerous tourist attractions, the Indonesian province of Lampung has been encouraged to develop its tourism sector as an important source of foreign exchange and employment.

The rapid expansion of the tourism sector in Lampung Province is expected to provide viable opportunities for sustainable development and poverty reduction.(*)

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World weather: 2016's early record heat gives way to heavy rains

The record-breaking heat of the first six months has turned to severe seasonal flooding across Asia in one of the strongest monsoon seasons in many years
John Vidal The Guardian 1 Aug 16;

The record-breaking worldwide heat of the first six months of 2016 has turned to abnormally severe seasonal flooding across Asia with hundreds of people dying in China, India, Nepal and Pakistan and millions forced from their homes.

In India, the Brahmaputra river, which is fed by Himalayan snowmelt and monsoon rains, has burst its banks in many places and has been at danger levels for weeks. Hundreds of villages have been flooded in Bihar, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and other northern states.

Some of the heaviest rains in 20 years have forced nearly 1.2 million people to move to camps in Assam. Floods have submerged around 70% of the Kaziringa national park, home to the rare one-horned rhino which was visited by Prince William earlier this year.

“The situation is still very bad. We are taking measures to help people in every possible way,” the Indian forest minister, Pramila Rani Brahma, told Reuters.

In the state of Bihar, 26 people have died, nearly 2.75 million people have been displaced or affected, and 330,000ha of land inundated. Many major rivers are still flowing at or above danger levels.

In China, the summer monsoon which started in June after a series of heatwaves is said to have caused $22bn of damage so far. State officials say it has killed more than 500 people, destroyed more than 145,000 homes and inundated 21,000 sq miles of farmland.

Around 500,000 people were last week still displaced in the hardest-hit central Chinese provinces of Henan and Hebei. According to the Chinese ministry of civil affairs, 125,000 people were in urgent need of basic assistance.

This monsoon season has been one of the strongest in China’s recent history, with 150 towns and cities reportedly suffering record rainfall. The Yangtze river basin has been particularly hard hit, with 22 inches of rain falling in 24 hours last month at Wuhan, the Hebei state capital.

The city, which is downstream of the Three Gorges dam and protected from flooding, was inundated after its drainage system and flood controls failed. Much of the damage is thought to have occurred because the city’s rapid expansion in the past 20 years filled in many small lakes and wetlands which used to store water.

Elsewhere, Nepal has been lashed by torrential monsoon rains, flash floods and landslides. The government says 14 of the mountainous country’s 75 districts have been affected by floods, 54 people have died and many major rivers are running at dangerous levels. Tens of thousands of Nepalese are still living in tents following devastating earthquakes last year.

The army has been deployed to repair dams and helicopters are being used to distribute food and medicines to homeless people who have taken shelter on roads and in upland areas.

Meteorologists say that the 2016 Asian monsoon is one of the strongest in many years, and has been intensified by the El Niño natural phenomenon which sees Pacific water temperatures rise and leads to droughts and severe weather worldwide.

The summer heatwaves that have affected much of the Middle East, north Africa and north America have slackened in the last few days.

“At the [north American] heatwave’s peak on July 22, almost 124 million people in north America were under heat-related warnings or advisories. Additionally, high overnight low temperatures meant little relief from the oppressive heat,” said the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The WMO has set up a committee to examine whether a 54C temperature recorded in Kuwait in July has set the new highest temperature for Asia, as well as for the entire eastern hemisphere.

Climatologists at the WMO said they expected more heatwaves because of climate change. “The length, frequency and intensity of heatwaves will likely increase further during this century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” said the agency.

But they said it was likely that only a weak “La Niña” will follow the strong El Niño phenomenon later this year. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño and is marked by cooler temperatures worldwide.

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