Best of our wild blogs: 27 Jun 17

Pulau Sekudu is alive!
wild shores of singapore

Logging in Malaysia’s Ulu Muda forest threatens wildlife and water supplies

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Malaysia: Forest reserve houses iconic wildlife and we intend to help out - experts

The Star 27 Jun 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Environmen-talists are coming together to restore a mini forest reserve teeming with wildlife in Sabah’s interior.

The Trusan Sugut Forest Reserve (Trusan Sugut FR) in the state’s north-eastern part, which is home to 365 butterfly species, 57 types of amphibians, 103 reptile species, 335 bird varieties and 168 kinds of mammals, was recently elevated from a Class II to Class I (totally protected area) forest reserve.

However, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia says there is still much to be done in terms of restoring the forest.

Its executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the 8,690ha forest reserve was severely degraded in many parts due to human activity.

He said natural regeneration took a long time and usually, the altered conditions did not suit the orang utan and other wildlife.

“We intend to lend nature a helping hand, and urge the public to support our fundraising efforts for Sabah’s wildlife haven,” he said in a statement.

The Trusan Sugut FR houses ico­nic wildlife such as the proboscis monkey, banteng, Bornean orang­utan and Sundaland clouded leo­pard, among others.

In terms of habitat, the forest reserve also boasts of various forest types including endangered ones such as lowland mixed dipterocarp forest, a variant of which is the kapur (limestone) forest, lowland kerangas (heath) forest, lowland peat swamp forest, and lowland freshwater swamp forest.

WWF-Malaysia senior programme officer for orangutan conservation Donna Simon said some parts of Trusan Sugut FR occupied by Bornean orangutan had become severely degraded due to past logging activities and fires.

“We are keen to help the Sabah Forestry Department restore the landscape with native and fast-growing tree species,” she said.

She said the Bornean orangutan was a tree-dependent species which used trees for food and shelter, and usually moved about by swinging between treetops

“The Trusan Sugut population is small and isolated. As such, connecting the peat swamp forest to the west of Sugut River will serve as the last lowland area hosting a significant population of orangutan in the northern half of Sabah,” Simon said.

Some RM1.8mil is needed to restore 150ha of the forest reserve, depending on the type of planting method for the compartments involved.

The forest reserve is bordered by oil palm plantations and human settlements, which puts it at risk for agricultural and domestic waste pollution, encroachment, poaching, illegal harvesting of forest trees, and many more.

WWF-Malaysia’s Anti-Poaching manager Sharon Koh said poachers should be deterred from entering Trusan Sugut also because they could start forest fires simply by throwing cigarette butts or leaving a camp fire unattended.

Those wishing to contribute to the restoration of the forest can do so via

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Wan Junaidi: Indonesia keeping to pledge over cross-border haze

Borneo Post 27 Jun 17;

KUCHING: Indonesia has adopted systematic measures to address the cross-border haze that affects Southeast Asia, in keeping with its assurance to ensure an end to the problem by 2020, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said he had held numerous discussions with the Indonesian authorities from the provincial to the national level on the matter.

The Indonesian government had also signed an agreement on a Transboundary Haze-Free Asean by 2020, convinced that it can address the problem by that year, Wan Junaidi said to reporters at his Aidilfitri open house here Sunday.

Transboundary haze pollution arising from land and forest fires, mainly in Indonesia, over the past two decades have had social, economic and environmental impacts in the Asean region.

Wan Junaidi said Indonesia had established a task force comprising 3,000 police and military personnel to put out forest fires.

It had also set up a department to coordinate the task of extinguishing the forest fires and established a monitoring centre in Jakarta to provide information on forest fires, he said.

He also said that Indonesia had withdrawn over 2,000 concessions for oil palm cultivation on peat soil which, it is believed, could trigger forest-clearing fires in that country.

Wan Junaidi said he had also met representatives of Indonesian plantation associations to discuss how to address the haze problem.

The minister said that last year, a plantation company from Sarawak was also found to have engaged in open burning in Indonesia.

He advised plantation entrepreneurs, especially those managing oil palm plantations in the state, to refrain from engaging in open burning.

Wan Junaidi said he had instructed enforcement departments and agencies to take the necessary regulatory measures to curb open burning in the dry season.

“We do not want a repeat of what happened in the oil palm plantation in Baram last year that can cause severe haze in the state,” he said.

He said he had also ordered a stop to open burning in peninsular Malaysia in view of the approach of the dry season. — Bernama

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Indonesia: Insurance company to pay for coral reef damage in Raja Ampat

Haeril Halim The Jakarta Post 27 Jun 17;

The government says it has agreed to a proposal by MV Caledonian Sky, which is owned by a Swedish company, for financial compensation from an insurance company for extensive damage the ship had done to coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Papua.

The government was initially cautious about the proposal, saying an insurance company would always try to pay as little as possible in compensation.

Environmentalists and academics estimate that Indonesia might suffer losses of US$18.6 million from damage to the coral reefs caused by the cruise ship in March. The damaged area totals 13,532 square meters.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, whose office is in charge of the case, said the government had agreed to the company’s proposal to recompense for the coral damage through insurance.

“We are now negotiating with the insurance company,” Luhut recently told The Jakarta Post at the Presidential Palace.

Luhut, however, did not provide any figures detailing the payment the insurance company was expected to make for the environmental losses. He expressed hopes that the negotiation would soon secure agreement on the payment.

In March, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya had threatened to bring the case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, saying her office had been collecting necessary documents to support the planned lawsuit. (ary)

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