Best of our wild blogs: 28 Feb 17

A Backyard Dive into Resilience
Hantu Blog

Singapore got sea turtles!
wild shores of singapore

Read more!

Singapore has a feather in its cap

Despite its small size, the country is home to an array of wildlife, including about 150 species of resident birds
Straits Times 27 Feb 17;

With a land area of about 720 sq km that is marked by rapid urbanisation, Singapore is home to a surprisingly diverse array of wildlife.

In fact, about 150 species of birds can be found here all-year round.

To celebrate the colour they bring to our concrete jungle, The Straits Times' photojournalists will showcase birds that often go unnoticed in this first of a two-part Wildlife Singapore series to commemorate World Wildlife Day on Friday.

This annual celebration and move to heighten awareness of the world's wild animals and plants is founded in the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

The convention - an international agreement between governments with an objective to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival - was signed on March 3, 1973.

But it was about 40 years later, on Dec 20, 2013, that the United Nations General Assembly decided to declare March 3 as World Wildlife Day.

In Singapore, the wildlife list shows more than 390 species of birds. Of these, nearly 150 species are residents here, which means they can be found all-year round, and that there is evidence of them breeding here.

Birds play an important role in the urban landscape here, said Mr Lim Kim Chuah, chairman of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group.

"They help with the reproduction of plants - as pollinators and seed dispersers - and control the population of bugs.

"Birds also provide a recreational and aesthetic value, as enjoying nature and watching wildlife is a great way to relax and de-stress, especially in a hectic environment like Singapore," he added.

"Lastly, parks, gardens and forests attract tourists and, to some extent, eco-tourists. This brings economic benefits to the country," he noted.

Next Monday, the second part of this series will feature our photographers' visual take on the land and sea creatures of Singapore.

The Straits Times picture desk would like to thank the following for their assistance in this project:
National Parks Board
Mr Lim Kim Chuah, chairman of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group
Mr Yong Ding Li, committee member of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group
Ms Ria Tan, naturalist who runs

Read more!

Indonesia: Jakarta remains flood alert until March

Fardah Antara 28 Feb 17;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias capital city of Jakarta is always flooded during peak rainy season annually and now is still prone to flooding.

This year, extreme weather is forecast to bring heavy rainfall that could cause floods until March.

Widespread flooding hit at least 54 areas and submerged thousands of homes in the metropolitan city following incessant downpour on Feb 20 and 21, 2017.

Some 11 of the 54 flood-hit areas were in South Jakarta, 29 in East Jakarta, and 14 in North Jakarta.

Floodwaters reached up to 30 centimeters in height in Grogol; up to 1.5 meters in height in Gunung Sahari; and up to 2 meters in height in Cipinang Melayu. Flooding was also reported in Kelapa Gading, Kemang, Kebayoran Baru, and Cawang.

The flooding disrupted traffic and caused congestion on several roads, according to information from the Jakarta Polices Traffic Management Center.

In Cipinang Melayu, East Kalimantan, over 900 flood victims took refuge in Borobudur Universitys mosque.

A total of 304 schools located in Central, North, West, South, and East Jakarta were inundated on Feb 21, forcing their temporary shutdown.

In Central Jakarta, flooding affected 45 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, 4 senior high schools, and 3 vocational high schools.

In North Jakarta, 1 kindergarten, 48 elementary schools, 16 junior high schools, 8 senior high schools, and 10 vocational high schools were inundated.

Flooding also submerged 1 kindergarten, 56 elementary schools, 18 junior high schools, 5 senior high schools, and 1 vocational high school in West Jakarta.

In South Jakarta, 21 elementary schools, 2 junior high schools, 3 senior high schools, and 3 vocational schools were flooded.

At least 35 elementary schools, 5 junior high schools, 5 senior high schools, and 2 vocational high schools were submerged by floods.

On Feb 22, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama apologized to victims affected by flooding and promised to continue a project aimed at preventing it from happening again.

"I apologize to Jakarta residents, especially the elderly and children. We understand that it is hard to go through this," he noted.

Indonesias National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) stated that there were about 480 emergency reports received on Feb 21, mainly in East and South Jakarta.

BNPB Chief Willem Rampangilei pointed out that that the floods were caused by a combination of heavy rain and high tides, sedimentation, and man-made factors such as garbage thrown by squatters living along the river.

Besides, flooding occurred as nearly 80 percent of rain water turned into flood, while drainages and rivers could not accommodate the water.

Help came among other things from the Indonesian Air Force Operations Command (Koopsau) I which set up a task force team to assist the flood victims in Jakarta and its surrounding areas.

"The flood standby task force team comprises a company of personnel, equipped with inflatable boats, outboard motors, life belts, an ambulance, a helicopter, and other equipment to evacuate flood victims and distribute aid," Koopsau I Commander Rear Marshal Yuyu Sutisna stated on Feb 21.

The task force was led by Koopsau I operations assistant Colonel Syamsul Rizal.

Earlier, on Feb 15, floods in Jakarta had affected 7,788 people, or 3,393 households, following incessant rainfall that caused the Ciliwung River to spill over its bank.

"Heavy downpour in upstream and central areas of Ciliwung River triggered flooding along its bank in Jakarta," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of BPBN, said in a statement.

Flood waters, reaching a height of up to 1.5 meter, submerged several areas in East Jakarta, such as Cawang, Cibubur, Rambutan (Ciracas Sub-district), Cililitan, Kampung Melayu, and Bidakara Cina (Jatinegara Sub-district).

Meanwhile, major floods were also reported in Jakarta's suburban areas such as in Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi on Feb. 21.

Two persons were dead and at least 279 residents of the city of Bekasi, West Java Province, were moved to an evacuation shelter.

Among flood-affected residential areas in Bekasi were the housing complex for lecturers of the Institute of Teacher Training and Education, Surya Mandala, Mutiara Gading Timur, Pondok Timur Indah, Pondok Ungu Permai, Nasio, Interup Asri, Pondok Hijau Permai, Pondok Chandra, Harapan Mulya, Bougenvil, Griya Jatisari and Buana Risma Complex, among others.

As forecast by the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysic Agency (BMKG), the rainy season in Indonesia has peaked in February, triggering hydrometeorological disasters such as floods and landsides in several provinces.

In the last few days, floods have been reported in Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, North Maluku, Banten, and North Sulawesi, among others.

Read more!