Best of our wild blogs: 21 Nov 16

harrier @ kranji marshes - 19Nov2016

Chek Jawa boardwalk with families
wild shores of singapore

Domestic Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda venatoria) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Monday Morgue

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Crocodile rescued after getting trapped in Lim Chu Kang fish farm

Lam Min Lee AsiaOne 20 Nov 16;

Most long-time residents know the ins and outs of their neighbourhoods.

But one unlucky resident of Sungei Buloh not only ended up in unfamiliar territory, it got itself stuck in a nearby fish farm while out hunting for supper one night.

A crocodile, estimated to be between 2.5m and 3m long, had wandered into the facility through a drainage pipe, said Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, Singapore (ACRES).

It was rescued on Friday (Nov 18) by a team of four from ACRES after farm workers reported the sighting.

AsiaOne spoke with ACRES wildlife group director Kalai vanan to find out more about the rescue mission.

He said that the animal was safely restrained, passed through a gap in the fence, and subsequently released back to the wetland reserve.

The reptile was identified as an estuarine crocodile, a nocturnal animal that is native to Singapore.

It spends most of its day basking at the water's edge or stays hidden among vegetation, according to National Parks (NParks).

The crocodile can also be found in areas along the island's northern coastlines and mainly feeds on fish and small animals.

Mr Kalai vanan said that the estuarine crocodile population has dwindled over the years due to overhunting, leather trade, and destruction of its natural habitat.

As Singapore becomes increasingly urbanised, we are now sharing green spaces with wild animals.

"It is important that we learn to co-exist with them and help to raise awareness amongst the younger generation so that they will grow up to protect the wildlife that can be found in Singapore," Mr Vanan said.

If you encounter a crocodile at the Sungei Buloh wetland reserve, NParks advises visitors to do the following:

- Stay calm and back away slowly

- Do not approach, provoke or feed the animal

- Call the Reserve Information Counter at 6794 1401 if you need help

To report a sighting of a wild animal in places that are not their natural habitats, call ACRES' 24-hour wildlife crime and rescue hotline at 9783 7782. To contribute towards ACRE's wildlife rescue efforts, visit their donation web page.

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Themed trains to drive commuters towards green lifestyle

Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 21 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE: Commuters looking to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle will get some pointers on how to do so on two specially themed MRT trains.

The two trains launched on Monday (Nov 21) have been decorated to showcase the Sustainable Singapore blueprint, which maps out the Government’s vision to create a more liveable and sustainable future by 2030.

The decorative features, which include window stickers, outline ways the public can do their part for the environment such as bringing reusable shopping bags and taking public transport instead of driving.

One of the themed trains will run along the 18-station Downtown Line between Chinatown and Bukit Panjang stations, and the other train will ply the North-East Line between HarbourFront and Punggol stations. Both trains will run daily for four weeks.

The themed trains initiative is supported by the Land Transport Authority and Moove Media.

- CNA/kk

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Government to build and lease spaces for animal shelters, pet farms

Channel NewsAsia 21 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE: The Government will build facilities for animal welfare groups to operate animal shelters and for pet farms, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Monday (Nov 21).

Most of the animal welfare groups and pet farms currently located in Loyang and Seletar will have to move out of their current premises when their leases expire by end-2017 as the sites are needed for redevelopment, the AVA said in its press release.

To facilitate the move, the Government will build and lease the facilities to the animal welfare groups and pet farms for monthly rentals. "This means they need not raise funds to pay a lump sum to buy land and construct their own facilities," the agency said.

The facilities, to be located in Sungei Tengah, will be ready by end-2017 and will be managed by AVA. They will adhere to animal welfare standards and there will be "sufficient space" for the existing number of animals affected by the move, it added.

The new facilities will have two storeys, instead of a single storey like the current premises, as it would make more intensive use of the land, AVA said.

There is also scope to plan for sharing of common facilities such as dog runs, which will further optimise land use. "AVA is seeking the views of various stakeholders on the design specifications of the facilities and will continue to engage them," it said.

- CNA/kk

Govt to build rental facilities for pet farms, animal shelters at Sungei Tengah
TOH EE MING Today Online 21 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE — New facilities will be built in Sungei Tengah by the end of next year, offering space for rent by operators of animal shelters and pet farms at Loyang and Seletar, most of whose leases expire by then, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Monday (Nov 21).

With the new facilities, which will be along Sungei Tengah Road and opposite Farmart, operators would not have to raise a lump sum to buy land and construct their own facilities, as is common now.

The design specifications of the new space is still being worked out, but to maximise the use of land, the buildings will be two storeys tall — the current premises at Loyang and Seletar are one-storey. Common facilities, such as dog runs, could also be built for tenants to further optimise land use.

The AVA, which will manage the new facilities, said there will be sufficient space for between 6,000 and 7,000 animals currently housed by the affected operators in Seletar and Loyang. There are nine animal welfare groups, 29 pet farms and several independent shelters there.

Most of their leases expire at the end of next year because the land they are sitting on has been earmarked for redevelopment, but specific plans have not been announced yet.

In response to queries, a spokesperson from AVA said: “The priority is to house the existing animals in Loyang and Seletar. We can consider leasing to other animal welfare groups and pet farms in other areas in future if there is sufficient space left over.” Asked about rental prices, the spokesperson said it will be pegged to recovering the cost of land, construction, maintenance, facilities management and other costs.

For animal welfare groups and independent shelters, a “rough ballpark we have now is about S$13 per sqm per month”. The cost will depend on the final design and contractor’s tender prices, added the AVA spokesperson.

Pet farm operators will have to tender for the units and their rentals will be based on their bids. While they were happy to hear of the relocation option, some of the affected animal welfare groups and pet farms raised concerns about space for the animals.

Mr Mohan Div, co-founder of Animal Lovers League shelter, which houses about 500 dogs and cats at Pasir Ris Farmway 3, said it would take time for the animals to adjust, as they are used to roaming freely in the open space at their current premises.

“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel with (this) and a real blessing financially ... (but) we do prefer an open-farm concept ... where animals get to walk around and mingle (with visitors),” he said.

Previously, he considered tendering for a piece of land with some other groups but acknowledged that cost would be a concern.

Another operator of a pet farm, which houses about 1,000 animals, wanted to know about the tenancy terms and the space available before he makes a decision. The operator, who declined to be named, said that with animals housed in closed quarters, it could be a problem if there was an outbreak of a disease.

Ms Elaine Tan, a boarder at Ericsson Pet Farm, wondered if there would be flexibility in customising space for animals.

Voices for Animals president Derrick Tan said he was happy that the authorities were stepping in to provide an option for operators who would otherwise have to find new premises themselves.

“We were worried about (finding where) to house these animals ... (especially) with land being very expensive in Singapore,” he added.

Government to build and lease facilities for animal shelters, farms
Janice Heng MyPaper 22 Nov 16;

Animal welfare groups and pet farms in Loyang and Seletar, which will need to move out of their premises when their leases expire by the end of next year, will get new facilities in Sungei Tengah built and provided by the Government.

The sites in Loyang and Seletar are needed for redevelopment, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) in a release yesterday.

To help with the move, the Government will build facilities and lease them to the animal welfare groups and pet farms for monthly rentals.

"This means they need not raise funds to pay a lump sum to buy land and construct their own facilities," said the AVA.

It will manage the facilities which will be ready by end-2017. It said there will be sufficient space for the current number of animals from the affected animal welfare groups and pet farms.

Having government-built facilities ensures that the new spaces adhere to animal welfare standards, said the AVA.

The new facilities will have two storeys, instead of one storey like the current premises.

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Malaysia: Visitors throng park to see Rafflesia flower

The Star 21 Nov 16;

LUNDU: The Gunung Gading National Park here has been swarmed by visitors since Friday as word got out that its main attraction, the Rafflesia flower from the Rafflesia tuan-mudae species, is blooming.

The world’s largest flower started to bloom on Thursday (the first day of blooming which normally takes up to six days) and is expected to continue until tomorrow.

Visitors had to walk about 300m from the park office to see the flower.

Edmund Gering, 27, the officer in charge of the national park, which is about 120km from Kuching, said the Rafflesia takes almost nine months to flower.

“This time the 70cm-diameter flower has six petals. The Rafflesia normally produces five petals only.

“Every year, approximately 20 Rafflesia flowers bloom in the park,” he said when met here yesterday.

Visitors who want to see the Rafflesia must register with the national park management and be accompanied by a guide.

Edmund said there are about 23 locations with the Rafflesia flowers open for visitors as they are easily accessible and have been marked by the national park.

Asked about the name of the species, he said the species was dedicated to Charles Brooke II, who was referred to as Tuan Mudae Sarawak in Malay.

Gunung Gading National Park covers an area of 4,196 hectares and was gazetted in 1983 to create a conservation zone for the endangered plants.

Apart from the Rafflesia tuan-mudae which is endemic to this national park only, the Gunung Gading park is also famous for its waterfalls and pitcher plants. — Bernama

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Malaysia: Alert over heavy rain and overflowing rivers goes out in Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor and Perlis

The Star 21 Nov 16;

PETALING JAYA: Warnings of heavy rain and overflowing rivers have been issued in four states by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).

This covers selected areas in Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor and Perlis.

The DID flood information website yesterday sent out an initial warning that villagers in Kampung Sungai Buluh and Batu Bertangkup in Perlis should be careful after 51mm of rainfall was recorded before the danger subsided.

Another warning was issued for residents in the vicinity of Empangan Bukit Kwong in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, after 44mm of rain was recorded as of 5pm yesterday.

Two subsequent warnings were sent out an hour later for Sg Kelantan, Tanah Merah (Kelantan) and Sg Cherul in Kemaman (Terengganu) after 39mm and 46mm of rainfall were recorded respectively.

Separate warnings were issued for villagers near Sungai Muar and Sungai Penarik in Johor when the water in the two rivers reached danger levels.

However, DID did not issue any flood or flood forecast warnings on their website yesterday.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) indicated that more than 500mm of rain had been forecast for Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and east Johor until the end of year.

The rainfall, according to MetMalaysia, is typical for this time of year due to the northeast monsoon.

MetMalaysia’s weather outlook has also forecast that Perlis, Kedah, Penang and north Perak would receive lower than normal rainfall (less than 150mm) between January and February next year.

Other areas in the peninsula are forecast to receive normal rainfall of between 100mm and 300mm.

Between March and April next year, all states are expected to receive normal rainfall of between 100mm and 350mm.

A metMalaysia spokesman had said floods could be expected if there was continuous rainfall for three to five days. The east coast monsoon, which began last week, typically lasts until March.

Gerik hit by worst floods in 20 years, say residents
The Star 21 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Residents in Gerik woke up to the worst floods they have ever seen in 20 years.

Muhammad Hafizul Mohd Jonid, 22, shared pictures of the flood along Jalan Takong Datok, which occurred around 4.30am on Facebook.

“We were not prepared for this, but luckily our restaurant was not badly affected as the place is on higher ground.

“Now, we need to clean up before we open for business tomorrow,” he said yesterday.

Heavy rain on Saturday night caused flash floods in several areas in Gerik, Lenggong and Batu Gajah in Perak.

The affected areas were Kampung Air Suda, Kampung Ramasamy, Kampung Padang, Jalan Takong Datok and the market in Gerik, Kampung Beng in Lenggong and Batu 3 of Jalan Tanjung Tualang in Batu Gajah.

A spokesman for the Perak Fire and Rescue Department said one person was trapped in the market after flood waters rose to about 1.2m.

“He was rescued by a boat and moved to a safe place,” he told Bernama.

The water, however, receded quickly and after discussions with leaders of the affected villages, it was decided that the victims need not be moved to flood relief centres.

Dredging work to start at Penang rivers
The Star 21 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Even as the water level continues to rise and flood homes in Penang, dredging work will begin along several rivers today.

Dredging work will take place along Sungai Pinang, Sungai Air Itam, Sungai Dondang, Sungai Jelutong and at the Sungai Dondang retention pond.

The dredging, said the state Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID), was part of flood mitigation measures to prepare for the impact of the north-east monsoon.

“We will also clear the drains to ensure smooth water flow,” it said in a statement yesterday.

However, the long-term solution to the floods, which have hit the state for the fifth time in three weeks, will be the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project, it said.

The Federal Government had set aside RM150mil for the third phase of the project, which is expected to begin next year until 2020.

Yesterday, Penangites again had to struggle with floods when water swamped more than 100 houses on the island and the mainland after a six-hour downpour.

At one time, some areas in Jalan P. Ramlee, Kampung Masjid, Jalan Singgora, Kampung Makam, Kampung Rawana, Lorong Kulit, Kampung Dodol, Jalan Gemas and Jalan Terengganu had water levels as high as 0.6m.

Cumulative rainfall at the Bukit Bendera and Sungai Pinang stations were recorded at between 50mm and 55mm. This was made worse by tide that rose from 1.4m to 2.2m within three hours starting from 11.30pm on Saturday.

Over at the mainland, several areas in Butterworth — Sungai Lokan, Bagan Lalang, Sungai Mak Mandin and Sungai Nyior — also came under 0.6m-high water levels after heavy rain.

With the rain stations in Bakar Kapor, Penaga, in the north Seberang Prai and Ampang Jajar, Butterworth, recording 65mm and 70.5mm in rainfall, Sungai Prai burst its banks, affecting some 50 homes in Kampung Perlis in Jalam Assumption.

Fishermen near Tasek Gelugor are complaining that the wetter than usual rainy season is affecting their livelihood.

Sungai Korok and Air Hitam Fishmermen Cooperative chairman Ramli Hashim said that about 200 fishermen could not go out to work.

“The rainy season has affected their catch as the strong river current is dangerous to small boats.

“So far, we have taken steps to improve the infrastructure at the jetties,” he said, adding that this year’s wet spell was the worst compared to previous years.

Heavy rain triggers flash floods in Perak
The Star 20 Nov 16;

IPOH: Heavy rain Saturday night caused flash floods in several areas in Gerik, Lenggong and Batu Gajah in Perak.

The affected areas were Kampung Air Suda, Kampung Ramasamy, Kampung Padang, Jalan Takong Datok and the market in Gerik, Kampung Beng in Lenggong and Batu 3 of Jalan Tanjung Tualang in Batu Gajah, according to a spokesman of the Perak Fire and Rescue Department.

He said the floodwaters rose to 1.2m in the five areas in Gerik.

"One person, who was trapped in the floods at the market, was rescued by boat and moved to a safe place," he told Bernama Sunday.

He also said that a house in Kampung Beng, Lenggong, was flooded at a depth of 0.5m, but the floodwaters had since receded.

The floodwaters in Batu Gajah had also subsided, he added. No evacuations were necessary. - Bernama

Flash floods hit Penang
CHRISTOPHER TAN The Star 20 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Several flood prone areas were inundated in the wee hours of Sunday morning after a continuous downpour for about six hours.

Among the areas flooded were Jalan P. Ramlee, Kampung Makam and Kampung Dodol on the island.

Several areas on the mainland were also hit by flash floods, namely in Mak Mandin, Seberang Jaya and Jalan Raja Uda.

In another matter, a 42-year-old man drowned in the Perai River after he fell off a barge at about 10.30pm Saturday.

The Perai Fire and Rescue Department conducted a search and rescue operation and the body was found at 12.29am, about two hours later.

The victim, C.B. Ravichandran, was seen by public, trying to save himself after falling off before being dragged away by the river current.

Heavy downpours trigger flash floods across Perak, Kedah

IPOH: A two-hour heavy downpour, which began at 4am this morning, has caused flash flooding in several areas in Gerik, Lenggong and Batu Gajah.

A Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (JPBM) spokesperson said in Gerik, water rose as high as 1.2 metres in five areas, namely Kampung Air Sudah, Kampung Ramasamy, Pasar Awam Gerik, Jalan Takong Datok and Kampung Padang.

ccording to the spokesperson, JPMB had to use a boat to evacuate a victim trapped at a market.

In Lenggong, a house in Kampung Beng was flooded by 0.5 metres of flood water. JPBM kept watch on the area until water subsided at 7 am.

"Meanwhile, in Batu Gajah, traffic congestion was reported after water overflowed onto the main road at Tanjung Tualang, but the situation is still under control, based on JPBM monitoring.

"There is no need to open evacuation centres at the affected locations for the time being," said the spokesperson.

In Kedah, more than a dozen villages in low-lying areas in Kupang, Kuala Ketil and Baling were hit by flash floods following three hours of rainfall early today.

The rain, which began at 2am, caused Sungai Ketil to overflow, leaving 50 homes in Kampung Banggol Chicar, Kupang, Tanah Periok, Raja, Bendang Sera, Kuala Samak, Tembak A, Gua Reban and Tanjung Merbau inundated by one metre-deep water.

Also affected are Kampung Sadek, Bukit Tinggi, Jerai and Tanjung. Baling Welfare Services Department officer Shamsul Izrin Ishak said the department and the Baling Member of Parliament's service centre had provided immediate relief to victims.

He said they are monitoring the situation and urge affected families to get ready for evacuation should the situation worsen.

Entire village cut off after landslide buries main road
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 21 Nov 16;

KOTA BELUD: About 800 villagers of Kampung Tambatuon here were left isolated when the main road leading to the village was cut off due to a landslide.

It is learnt that the landslide was triggered by continuous heavy rain, which started at 3pm yesterday.

Four other landslides occurred in the same location, affecting Jalan Bypass Kota Belud-Ranau.

District Public Works Department assistant engineer Sadian Mindou said no houses were damaged thus far.

"However, power supply to the village has been disrupted, as an electricity utility pole collapsed due to the landslide," he said.

Sadian added that clearing works are currently being carried out, and villagers and road users will be able to pass through the affected area by this evening.

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