Best of our wild blogs: 18 Oct 17

No ferry to St John's Island during Kusu Pilgrimage Season: 20 Oct - 17 Nov 2017
Sisters' Island Marine Park

Upcoming Green Drinks: Air Pollution in Singapore
Green Drinks Singapore

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Algae at Kranji Reservoir turns waters a murky green, PUB says no cause for alarm

Lydia Lam Straits Times 17 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE - Green algal growth was spotted in Kranji Reservoir on Tuesday (Oct 17), but water agency PUB has assured the public that such growth is not uncommon and poses no danger.

Photos sent in by a reader of The Straits Times, taken on Tuesday, show murky waters at the reservoir coated with a thick green hue.

A spokesman for PUB confirmed with ST that the photos show algal growth.

Singapore's weather creates favourable conditions for such growth, and the appearance of algae depends on weather conditions.

According to PUB, nutrients from sources in water catchments such as from pet waste, food waste, fertilisers, detergents and sediments, are food for algae, which are microscopic aquatic organisms.

"When these nutrients are available and when conditions are favourable, such as (when there is) warm water and sufficient sunlight, algae may grow rapidly," said PUB in an advisory on its website.

The green tint created comes from the chlorophyll, a photosynthetic pigment in algal cells which they use to make food.

This is why algae is more visible from the early morning to the mid-afternoon, when sunlight is plentiful.

Algae tends to concentrate on the surface of calm waters, and can often appear as a concentrated green layer known as scum at certain reservoir shores or canal edges due to wind directions.

PUB assured the public in its advisory that it monitors water quality closely with real-time water quality sensors in reservoirs and major waterways, collecting samples to analyse algae and chlorophyll levels.

PUB removes algal scum in reservoirs and works with the National Environment Agency's Department of Public Cleanliness to clean waterways daily.

It is also working on an improved algal management plan, including enhanced monitoring tools and ways to manage algal growth.

The waters from the reservoirs undergo several layers of treatments, removing algae effectively, PUB said.

Earlier this month, parts of the Singapore River turned green because of algal overgrowth, startling several passers-by.

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Indonesia: Authority foils attempt to smuggle endangered hornbills in Makassar

Antara 17 Oct 17;

Makassar, S Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The Security and Law Enforcement Agency (BPPH) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for Sulawesi has foiled an attempt to smuggle four endangered knobbed horbills (Rhyticeros Cassidix) to Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi province.

"We handed over the four Sulawesi wrinkled horbills to BKSDA of Central Sulawesi to take care. These birds are protected species. Local people call them Alo birds," Head of BPPH Muhammad Nur said here on Monday.

One female and three male hornbills were confiscated.

The birds were transported using a rented car from Buol District to Palu City in Central Sulawesi.

The exotic birds were hidden inside two cardboards and said as if they were poultry to the driver.

The car transporting the hornbills was intercepted by local law enforcement officers who were conducting a raid on street in Palu.

No address was written on the cardboard, but only a cellphone number of the package receivers has been collected by the officers.

Nur said that the Sulawesis wrinkled hornbill is considered one of the most beautiful species of all 54 species of hornbill worldwide.

However, Nur said that the population of hornbill in Indonesia, especially in Sulawesi, has declined due to deforestation and lost habitat.

"The decline in food supply and nesting places as well as poaching on the hornbill are the other causes of the declining population of hornbill," Nur said.

The Government of Indonesia has included the Sulawesi wrinkled hornbill as a protected species under Law no.7/1999.

The wrinkled hornbill, also known as the knobbed hornbill, is a colorful hornbill native to Indonesia. It is the fauna symbol of South Sulawesi Province.

This large black hornbill has a yellow bill, white tail feathers, pale blue skin around the eye, blackish feet and bare dark blue throat.

Endemic to Indonesia, the knobbed hornbill is found in Sulawesi, Buton, Lembeh, Togian and Muna Island.(*)

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Indonesia: Two elephants die of electrocution in Sumatra

Antara 17 Oct 17;

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Two Sumatran elephants were found dead due to suspected electrocution in East Aceh District of Sumatras Province of Aceh on Sunday.

"The carcasses of the elephants were found completely with their tusks. The elephants were suspected to have died after they came in contact with an electric fence installed by local residents," Head of Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Aceh, Sapto Aji Prabowo said here on Monday.

The dead elephants were found by the locals in Semedang Jaya Hamlet, Seumanah Jaya Gampong, Rantau Peuruelak, East Aceh, on Sunday at around 11.00 a.m. local time. They then reported the incident to Leuser Conservation Forum and to the BKSDA of Aceh.

The elephants were a 10-year-old male and a 20-year-old female.

A joint team of BKSDA of Aceh, Environment and Forestry Law Enforcement Agency of Sumatra, East Aceh Police, and Leuser Conservation Forum has been deployed to the location to conduct autopsy of the elephants.

"The autopsy was done by taking samples from organs to be tested in laboratory. The result of the autopsy and the temporary conclusion showed that the elephants died due to electrocution," Prabowo revealed.

The autopsy result showed that the elephants died on Saturday night (Oct 14).

BKSDA has filed a report with the local police of East Aceh.

"We hope the law is enforced in this case. We also call on residents not to install electric fence around their garden as it not only threatens wildlife but also humans themselves," Prabowo remarked.

The degradation of natural habitat due to deforestation has become a major problem in Indonesias Sumatra Island. This often leads to conflict between wild life and human as animals are driven from their forest habitats, which are fast disappearing.

Sumatra Island is home to several endemic species such as Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus), Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), orangutan (Pongo abelii), and sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), all of which are threatened species.(*)

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Plant more trees to combat climate change: scientists

Alister Doyle Reuters 17 Oct 17;

OSLO (Reuters) - Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed on Monday.

Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peat lands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37 percent of all actions needed by 2030 under the 195-nation Paris plan, it said.

Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide, it said.

“Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” the international team of scientists said of findings published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The estimates for nature’s potential, led by planting forests, were up to 30 percent higher than those envisaged by a U.N. panel of climate scientists in a 2014 report, it said.

Trees soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they burn or rot. That makes forests, from the Amazon to Siberia, vast natural stores of greenhouse gases.

Overall, better management of nature could avert 11.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year by 2030, the study said, equivalent to China’s current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.

The Paris climate agreement, weakened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in June to pull out, seeks to limit a rise in global temperature to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Current government pledges to cut emissions are too weak to achieve the 2C goal, meant to avert more droughts, more powerful storms, downpours and heat waves.

“Fortunately, this research shows we have a huge opportunity to reshape our food and land use systems,” Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said in a statement of Monday’s findings.

Climate change could jeopardize production of crops such as corn, wheat, rice and soy even as a rising global population will raise demand, he said.

The study said that some of the measures would cost $10 a ton or less to avert a ton of carbon dioxide, with others up to $100 a ton to qualify as “cost-effective” by 2030.

“If we are serious about climate change, then we are going to have to get serious about investing in nature,” said Mark Tercek, chief executive officer of The Nature Conservancy, which led the study.

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