Best of our wild blogs: 6 Aug 16

Appeal to Preserve a Giant Fig Tree at Limau Estate Neighbourhood
Flying Fish Friends

Mass coral bleaching at Terumbu Raya
wild shores of singapore

Ship collision near the Sisters Islands Marine Park, 3 Aug 2016
wild shores of singapore

What water quality issues happening now in the West Johor Strait?
wild shores of singapore

Singapore Bird Report-July 2016
Singapore Bird Group

Night Walk At Pasir Ris Park (05 Aug 2016)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Indonesia: South Sumatra to use drone to monitor hotspots

Antara 5 Aug 16;

Palembang, S. Sumatra (ANTARA News) - South Sumatra will use an unmanned aircraft, or drone, to monitor hotspots in plantation and forest areas that officers find difficult to reach.

Head of the South Sumatra Forestry Office Sigit Wibowo said in Palembang on Friday that the fixed-wing drone is owned by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency and will be shipped no later than the end of August 2016.

"The fixed-wing drone, with no crew, can cover a distance of 100 kilometers, thus it can be used to monitor the broad expanses of plantation areas," he explained.

He noted that the drone will be stationed in Musi Banyuasin as the district has hundreds of hectares of plantation area belonging to the planted forest industry.

The provincial government has coordinated with the Sinar Mas Group, the company that owns the plantation forest area in Musi Banyuasin, to help provide an operation area for the drone, space for technicians, and a car for transportation.

"By deploying the drone, it is hoped the data will be made available to the relevant agencies more quickly within 1-2 hours after the fires breaks out as compared to waiting for 12 hours to receive data from an observation satellite," he pointed out.

According to Sigit, real-time data is absolutely necessary for the prevention of forest fires that can spread rapidly to other areas.

"The officers on the field should extinguish small fires as if left unattended can be difficult to extinguish since most areas in South Sumatra are peatlands," he pointed out.

South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin has earlier issued a disaster emergency standby status since March 2016 for this area in a bid to prevent forest and land fires.

Land and forest fires in South Sumatra had drawn worldwide attention as it caused haze that spread to the neighboring countries and ravaged some 736,563 hectares of land.

Meanwhile, fires broke out in a 10-hectare area on the Palembang-Inderalaya road crossing on Wednesday (August 3) at around 1 p.m. local time and had spiraled out of control by 5:30 p.m. local time.(*)

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Indonesia: Only 5 Sumatran Tigers Left in Bengkulu's Mukomuko

Usmin & Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 5 Aug 16;

Bengkulu. Only five Sumatran tigers are estimated to be living in the Mukomuko district of Bengkulu, South Sumatra, the local forestry agency has predicted after hunting and habitat loss destroyed the population.

“We estimate the number of Sumatran tigers left in Mukomuko to be five, roaming around the forests of Kerinci Sebelat National Park, situated between Kerinci and Mukomuko,” Fernandi, head of forestry at the local department of agriculture, livestock, plantation and forestry (DP3K), said in Bengkulu on Thursday (04/08).

According to Fernandi, one of the major causes is due to the major loss of habitat, leaving the tigers few places to hunt for food and driving them to hunt outside of conservation areas. Sumatran tiger habitat has been shrinking after decades of the palm oil plantation boom — which led to a land clearances — across Sumatra.

The tigers are believed to have been preying on goats in the village.

“This assumption is based on the frequent occurrences [of tigers] around the residential communities. The tigers often come out at night, and go back to their habitats at dawn, ” Fernandi said.

Villagers hunt and kill the tigers to save their stock, while others live in fear of themselves becoming preyed upon.

In response, the Bengkulu Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has teamed up with the department to save protected species.

“We will continue to coordinate with Bengkulu BKSDA and will report to them if there is a tiger seen going to the villages,” Fernandi said.

The DP3K will also continue to monitor the public in order to stop them from hunting the critically endangered Sumatran tigers, as there are only 371 left in the wild. The total population of Sumateran tiger left across Bengkulu province is still unknown.

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Indonesia: Bangka Belitong recommended as location for nuclear power plant

Antara 4 Aug 16;

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) has recommended the establishment of nuclear power plants (PLTN) in the Bangka Belitong Province.

"Bangka Island, which is composed of granite, can sustain the construction of PLTN and its land is relatively stable," Batan Head Djarot Sulistio Wisnusubroto said here on Thursday.

Batan also recommended Menggris Gulf, West Bangka, and Sebagin Village, South Bangka as locations for PLTN.

"Bangka Island is relatively safe from earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The island was recommended for the establishment of PLTN," he remarked.

The development of a nuclear power plant on Bangka Island is also considered strategic, because the location is not far from the Sumatra Island.

"The nuclear power plant can supply electricity to Sumatra," he stated.

State-owned electricity company PLN is also conducting a study on the price of electricity, which is produced by nuclear power plants.

"Its value is lower than using coal fuel," Djarot noted.

The price of electricity using coal fuel reached Rp9 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh), while the price of electricity produced by nuclear power plant was only Rp 6-Rp 8 cents KWh.

"The price is competitive," he said.

However, Batan cannot ensure the construction of the PLTN in Bangka Island, depending on the policy of the central government.

"We are just technical support. We help choose technology and the proper location," Djarot affirmed.

On the occasion, the Secretary General of the National Security Council, M Munir emphasized that Indonesia requires a nuclear power station.

Munir pointed out that the potential of nuclear energy in Indonesia was very large.

"Unfortunately, the nuclear energy has yet to be empowered optimally," he noted.

The Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Learning Education, Mohamad Nasir, had earlier said Indonesia must immediately build a nuclear power plant to meet the electricity needs of 60,000 megawatt by 2025.

"A nuclear power plant must be given serious consideration," he argued.

He pointed out that the trend has shifted from oil and coal to new and renewable energy sources, including nuclear energy.

He cited the example of France, saying it has been producing and using nuclear power, and also exports it. Germany, although it has decided to stop nuclear power development, still uses energy produced by France's nuclear power plants.

In the Middle East, he added, the United Arab Emirates is building four nuclear power plants, which will be completed at the rate of one plant each year between 2017 and 2020.(*)

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Amid criticism, World Bank adopts new social, environmental framework

AFP Yahoo News 5 Aug 16;

The World Bank has adopted a new set of policies aimed at preventing its projects from harming people and the environment.

The global lender dedicated to fighting poverty -- whose commitments rose to more than $60 billion this year -- said the new environmental and social framework had involved the "most extensive consultation ever conducted" by the bank.

"These new safeguards will build into our projects updated and improved protections for the most vulnerable people in the world and our environment," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

The Bank last year acknowledged that its projects had sometimes resulted in forced population displacements. World Bank projects in regions around the world have been accused of underwriting human rights abuses.

The new rules are to take effect in 2018 and will require client states to conduct a "broadened social assessment and management of environmental and social risks," to guarantee labor rights and prohibit any form of forced labor.

Projects will have to reduce environmental harm and avoid large-scale population displacements, according to the new policy.

While welcoming some improvements, Nadia Daar, head of the Washington office at Oxfam International, said in a statement that her organization was "frustrated and disappointed" that the new policy had not gone further.

The Bank Information Center, an organization which lobbies to improve World Bank policies, said the new rules lacked "the strength and clarity that people negatively impacted by development so profoundly depend upon."

As the latest version of the rules became public last month, Human Rights Watch likewise said it "does not require the bank to respect human rights."

Kim, the Bank president, said the framework represented "the best possible compromise."

"We had to find a path down the middle where we can both ensure that abuses didn't happen and at the same time make it possible for borrowers to borrow," Kim told reporters in a conference call.

Overly strict criteria risked harming the economic prospects of poor countries, he said.

The Bank currently faces a growing number of other actors in global development, including China, seen as placing fewer conditions on financing.

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