Best of our wild blogs: 30 Nov 18

Singapore Bird Report – October 2018
Singapore Bird Group

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ST Global Outlook Forum: Collective action can dull the sting of climate change

Chang Ai-Lien Straits Times 28 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE - Individual actions - billions of them by billions of people each day - can have a significant impact on global warming.

In fact, the only way to battle the predicament is for individuals, businesses, organisations and governments to work together to enforce rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented change, said an expert panel discussing the costs and consequences of climate change at the ST Global Outlook Forum on Wednesday (Nov 28).

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Indonesia: Sumatran rhino saved from pit trap in E Kalimantan

Antara 29 Nov 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News)- A female Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) was rescued from a pit trap near Tunuq River basin area in West Kutai District, East Kalimantan Province, on Sunday (Nov 25).

Within less than 24 hours, the rescue effort was successfully completed and the rhino was later transferred to Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary located in Kelian Lestari protected forest, Sunandar, head of the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Office (BKSDA), said here, Thursday.

The rhino, which is in good health and stable, arrived in her new home on Wednesday morning, he added.

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Great Barrier Reef: record heatwave may cause another coral bleaching event

42.6C temperature in Cairns broke a November record that has stood since 1900 by 5.4C
Ben Smee The Guardian 28 Nov 18;

A record-breaking heatwave in north Queensland will further increase above-average marine temperatures, heightening the risk of another coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef next year, scientists say.

Dozens of record November temperatures have been recorded in the region, most along the reef coastline, this week.

The most remarkable was at Cairns, where consecutive days reached temperatures of 42.6C and 40.9C. The maximum temperature on Tuesday broke a November record that has stood since 1900 by 5.4C.

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Climate change already a health emergency, say experts

Deadly heatwaves and spread of diseases affect people’s health today – report
Damian Carrington The Guardian 28 Nov 18;

People’s health is being damaged today by climate change through effects ranging from deadly heatwaves in Europe to rising dengue fever in the tropics, according to a report.

Billions of hours of farmwork has been lost during high temperatures and global warming has damaged the ability to grow crops, it said.

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Best of our wild blogs: 29 Nov 18

29th December 2018 (Saturday): Herp Walk @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Herpetological Society of Singapore

FOLLOW US! - Instagram St John's Island National Marine Laboratory (SJINML)
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Overwhelming support makes Singapore's Year of Climate Action a success: Masagos Zulkifli

Cheryl Teh Straits Times 28 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE - Art competitions, apps to track carbon footprints, and outreach programmes to encourage recycling were all part of the efforts made for Singapore's Year of Climate Action.

The campaign to rally Singaporeans together to work towards a sustainable Singapore saw about 800 climate action-related events initiated and organised here.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli acknowledged these collective efforts on climate action on Wednesday (Nov 28) at the Year of Climate Action Appreciation Lunch, held at Orchard Hotel.

He said these efforts were part of the "overwhelming support from the ground", with green initiatives championed by individuals, schools, businesses, non-profit organisations as well as organisations in the public and private sector.

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Should ivory sales be banned in Singapore? AVA invites public to share their views

Channel NewsAsia 28 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: The public has been invited to share their views on a proposed ban on the sale of elephant ivory and ivory products in Singapore.

A month-long public consultation was launched on Tuesday (Nov 27) by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to gather feedback from the public on the issue.

"The proposed ban is in line with Singapore’s broader commitment to tackle the illegal elephant ivory trade and support elephant conservation," said AVA.

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Malaysia: Illegal logging among the factors for worsening pollution of water sources - Water Supply Dept

Nor Fazlina Abdul Rahim New Straits Times 28 Nov 18;

KOTA BHARU: Source water pollution has worsened since 10 years ago, with illegal logging identified as one of the factors.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry’s Water Supply Department director-general Datuk Noor Azahari Zainal Abidin said checks at Sungai Bilut in Pahang revealed that its level of murkiness or lack of clarity had reached 1,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU).

He said apart from illegal logging, river pollution and destruction of water catchments had also contributed to the water pollution at its source.

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Malaysia: Divers fight Mabul seastar infestation

julianne de souza The Star 29 Nov 18;

PETALING JAYA: An infestation of coral-eating crown-of-thorns seastars in Mabul has got the diving community scrambling to save the corals.

Several dive operators such as Scuba Junkie SEAS and Reef Check Malaysia, and the Sabah Tourism Board are among those involved in an exercise to remove the seastars, which are the largest tropical starfish.

Within three days, they managed to remove over 3,000 seastars.

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Over one third of Indonesia's coral reefs in bad state, study finds

Indonesia has some of the world's finest corals but many are also badly damaged 28 Nov 18;

More than a third of Indonesia's coral reefs are in bad condition, scientists said Tuesday, raising concerns about the future of the archipelago's vast marine ecosystem.

The precarious state of the country's coral reefs was revealed after a survey of 1067 sites across the sprawling country of more than 17,000 islands.

Scientists from Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) found that just 6.5 percent Indonesia's coral reefs were in excellent condition, while 36 percent are in bad condition. Some 34 percent in sufficient condition with the rest classifed as being in good condition.

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Indonesia: Three turtles found dead off Pari island due to litter

Antara 28 Nov 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has confirmed the deaths of three turtles in the waters of Pari Island in the Seribu Islands District apparently due to plastic litter and crude oil spill.

"It is true that three turtles were found dead on Nov 27. Since they had decomposed, they were not moved to land. They were covered in mucus, and plastic litter was found in their mouths and front claws," Chief of Conservation Section of the BKSDA Office in Hajarta Ida Harwati stated on Wednesday.

The exact cause of the turtles` mortality is yet to be ascertained, as no surgery was conducted on them, she noted.

However, she believed they died due to exposure to plastic litter and oil spill.

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Indonesia: Wild animals flee to Karo hamlet from deforested Bukit Barisan

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 28 Nov 18;

Residents living near Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra, have seen a rise in the number of orangutans and other wild animals that have entered their villages in the past few months, ever since the mountain started to show a decrease in volcanic activity.

Just recently, residents of Lau Kawar hamlet, about 10 kilometers from the mountain, found a baby orangutan in the Lau Biang River in Kutabuluh district, when they were fishing. The male orangutan, estimated to be 1 year old, was sitting alone on a river stone.

The orangutan was then captured by the residents and taken to a resident’s house in Kutabuluh.

“This is the first time in decades I have seen many orangutans roaming around villages like this,” said local resident Pelin Depari. In addition to the orangutans, he said villagers had also encountered other animals such as deer and wild goats.

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Indonesia: Mangrove forests in Bombana need preservation

Otniel Tamindael Antara 29 Nov 18;

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - The mangrove forests scattered in Bombana District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, need to be preserved as a habitat for fish, shrimp, and crabs, as well as ecotourism areas.

Based on data from the Southeast Sulawesi Maritime and Fisheries Service, mangrove forests, covering an area of 6,053 hectares, are spread across six coastal areas in the district of Bombana.

Mangrove forests in Bombana are located on the small islands of Kabaena, Sagori, Kambing, Canggoreng, Mangata, and Hantu, but most have been looted and damaged by irresponsible local people.

A seafood producer, named Supriyansah Yusuf, stated that the preservation of mangrove forests must be a shared responsibility between the local government and the community.

Similar to coral reefs, mangrove forests are extremely productive ecosystems that provide numerous good services both to the marine environment and the people.

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Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

Radical overhaul in farming and consumption, with less meat eating, needed to avoid hunger and climate catastrophe
Damian Carrington The Guardian 28 Nov 18;

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.

Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the system, says the report by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). This will depend on better farming methods, wealthy nations consuming less meat and countries valuing food which is nutritious rather than cheap.

The report, which was peer reviewed and took three years to compile, sets out the scale of the problems as well as evidence-driven solutions.

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Best of our wild blogs: 28 Nov 18

Berlayar Creek AND Labrador surveys!
wild shores of singapore

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KPE, Geylang flash floods caused by lapses at nearby construction site: PUB

Channel NewsAsia 27 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: PUB will take action against a construction firm for failing to maintain the drainage on one of its construction sites, leading to flash floods in Geylang on Nov 11, the national water agency said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 27).

The floods affected Geylang Lorong 23 and the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) slip road to the Pan-Island Expressway (towards Changi).

"Enforcement action" will be taken against construction contractor, Straits Construction Singapore (SCS), for the lack of proper maintenance of the drainage system within their site, PUB added.

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Feeding Singapore’s hunger for sand

Maizura Ismail The ASEAN Post 26 Nov 18;

Sand mining for reclamation of coastal areas is both, a geopolitical and conservation issue for the Southeast Asian region, with many of the more developed countries in the bloc playing culprits. Leading the regional pack for reclaiming land from its coasts is Singapore, with Malaysia close behind. In Singapore, the total land area has literally grown more than 25 percent since the nation first came into being. The island city-state has so far increased its total land area from 578 square kilometres (km²) in 1819 to 719 km² today.

The continuous supply of sand drives Singapore’s growth both, in land area and economy. Where there used to be only water now stands ports and airports, commercial and industrial areas, as well as luxury hotels, casinos and high-rise apartments. Propping up land growth in the world’s largest sand importer is sand sourced from neighbouring countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia, both legally and illegally.

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Anak Krakatau volcano erupts 18 times triggering fear of tsunami

Antara 27 Nov 18;

Bandarlampung, Lampung (ANTARA News) - The Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and southern end of Sumatra erupted 18 times on Monday until Tuesday morning, spewing volcanic material soaring as high as 600 meters.

The frequent eruptions lately of Anak Krakatau caused fear of a repeat of 1883 devastation when Krakatau volcano erupted followed with big tsunami.

The eruption of Mount Krakatau and the tsunami in 1883 was one of the most devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in history.

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Climate-warming El Niño very likely in 2019, says UN agency

Natural cycle has major influence on global weather, bringing droughts and floods
Damian Carrington The Guardian 27 Nov 18;

There is a 75-80% chance of a climate-warming El Niño event by February, according to the latest analysis from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization.

The last El Niño event ended in 2016 and helped make that year the hottest ever recorded by adding to the heating caused by humanity’s carbon emissions. The 2019 event is not currently forecast to be as strong as in 2016.

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Global warming outpaces efforts to slow it: UN

Marlowe HOOD, AFP Yahoo News 27 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - Humanity is falling further behind in the race against climate change, with the gap between greenhouse gas emissions and levels needed to achieve the Paris climate treaty temperature goals continuing to widen, the UN said Tuesday.

With only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes.

On current trends, temperatures are on track to rise roughly 4C by the century's end, a scenario that would tear at the fabric of civilisation, scientists say.

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Wildlife rescue group sends 51 smuggled star tortoises home to India

Cheryl Lin Channel NewsAsia 26 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: Fifty-one Indian star tortoises that were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore embarked on a journey back home to India on Monday (Nov 26).

The repatriation exercise was carried out by animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), with support from the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the Indian government and Wildlife SOS in India.

It is ACRES' largest mass repatriation of rescued animals to date.

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Clues sought for decline in Hawaii humpback whale sightings

CALEB JONES, Associated Press Yahoo News 27 Nov 18;

HONOLULU (AP) — Researchers are gathering to compare clues on the reasons behind a significant decline in the number of sightings of North Pacific humpback whales in their traditional breeding grounds in waters around Hawaii.

The trend doesn't necessarily mean the iconic giants are dying off, or that they're not still migrating to the islands. But the apparent disappearance of many whales from a historically predictable location is causing concern and some researchers believe there's a link between warmer ocean temperatures in Alaska and the effect that has on the whales' food chain.

While scientists say it's too early to draw any conclusions about the phenomenon, the decline has sparked enough interest that a consortium of whale experts will meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Honolulu to compare data and attempt to better understand what's happening and what to do about it. The drop in sightings is estimated at 50 percent to 80 percent over the past four years.

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Best of our wild blogs: 25-26 Nov 18

Living shores of Beting Bemban Besar
wild shores of singapore

Terumbu Pempang Tengah is alive
wild shores of singapore

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (23 Nov 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Butterfly Anatomy - Part 4
Butterflies of Singapore

[FREE Exhibition] Beneath tide, Running forest - An art and science exploration of Singapore's marine biodiversity
Psychedelic Nature

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Products from threatened species of sharks and rays sold in Singapore: Study

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 25 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — Shops in Singapore have been found to sell meat, fins and other products derived from endangered and vulnerable species of sharks and rays.

The finding, made by researchers who did DNA sequencing and matched the results against databases, has prompted a call for active monitoring of the retail trade and better labelling of products here.

Monitoring the trade would require the authorities to check if retailers have obtained the appropriate permits under an international agreement that ensures trade does not threaten wildlife species with extinction.

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145 whales die on remote New Zealand beach

AFP Yahoo News 26 Nov 18;

Up to 145 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding on a remote part of a small New Zealand island, authorities said Monday.

The stranding was discovered by a hiker late Saturday on Stewart Island, 30 kilometres (19 miles) off the southern coast of the South Island.

Half of the whales were already dead and due to the condition of the remaining whales and the remote, difficult to access location, the decision was made to euthanise the remainder.

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Best of our wild blogs: 24 Nov 18

Sat 8th Dec 2018: Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walk - registration open for the 25th celebration!

[Short Film] The Bottled-Up Truth about Singapore's Plastic Problem
Psychedelic Nature

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Saving Indonesia`s marine life

Rahmad Nasution Antara 24 Nov 18;

This week, Indonesia has been in the spotlight of the mainstream media in the country and abroad after a dead sperm whale that washed ashore in the marine national park of Wakatobi had 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in its stomach.. (ANTARA /Ampelsa)

Bogor, W Java, Nov 23 (ANTARA News) - This week, Indonesia has been in the spotlight of the mainstream media in the country and abroad after a dead sperm whale that washed ashore in the marine national park of Wakatobi had 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in its stomach.

The death of this ill-fated sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was widely published and broadcast by reputable international news media, including Associated Press, Cable News Network (CNN), BBC, ABC, The Guardian, and National Geographic.

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Best of our wild blogs: 23 Nov 18

[Spotlight on IYOR Interns!] Our Seas, Our Legacy by Nathaniel Soon
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Beneath tide, Running forest Exhibition 24 Nov 2018 - Apr 2019
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Unveiling the world of mushroom
Love our MacRitchie Forest

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Lost villages of Pulau Ubin

Armed with only his mother’s photographs and directions from an old friend, Mr Syazwan Majid goes in search of an abandoned village where his grandparents used to live.
Rachel Quek and Toh Ting Wei Straits Times 21 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE - Mr Syazwan Majid grew up listening to his mother reminisce about her lost kampung in Pulau Ubin.

"It was like a broken record," the 22-year-old full-time national serviceman said.

But the repeated stories gradually piqued his curiosity in both the island and his family's heritage.

Mr Syazwan began to wonder if his family's old house was still standing in Ubin, since the island had yet to undergo a large-scale development.

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Malaysia: Resilient black panther dies after accident on LPT2

FITRI NIZAM, Rosli Ilham New Straits Times 22 Nov 18;

DUNGUN: A black panther sustained injuries and later on died, after it was hit by a car along the East Coast Expressway (LPT2) near Bukit Besi at about 6.30pm yesterday.

Nazaiwadi Mohamed who was driving at the time, hit the animal after failing to avoid it.

"The panther looked like it flew over the divider before falling on the hood of my car," he said.

During the incident, Nazaiwadi was heading home to Kampung Raja Besut from the Kuala Dungun toll plaza.

"I got out of my car to help the animal but it got up and tried to attack me," the 32-year-old project manager said, adding that out of fear, he went back into his vehicle.

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Indonesia: Plastic waste pollution serious - Minister

Antara 22 Nov 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Noting that plastic waste in the archipelago`s sea have serious consequences for the nation, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti stated all parties should work to resolve the matter.

"Marine debris is creating massive problems for humankind," the minister said in a press conference in Jakarta, Thursday.

The ministry has carried out all the necessary measures to its maximum capability, including by continuously campaigning about it, she remarked.

For example, the Directorate General of Marine Space Management of the ministry has distributed nets to be set up over a number of river estuaries so the waste materials do not flow into the open ocean through the river, she stressed.

Even though the regulation to ban the use of plastic does not come under the purview of the ministry, she reiterated her support and encouragement to the various local governments to issue rules relating to this matter.

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Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are far above pre-industrial levels
Damian Carrington The Guardian 22 Nov 18;

The main greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change have all reached record levels, the UN’s meteorology experts have reported.

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now far above pre-industrial levels, with no sign of a reversal of the upward trend, a World Meteorological Organization report says.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now,” said the WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

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UCI and Singapore researchers find source of 2015 Southeast Asia smoke cloud


Irvine, Calif. - Smoke from widespread fires in Indonesia in the summer and fall of 2015 hung heavily over major urban centers in Southeast Asia, causing adverse health effects for millions of people. The afflicted could not have known that the polluted air they were breathing contained carbon from plants that were alive during the Middle Ages.

During the prolonged conflagration, which was triggered by an El Nino-driven drought, scientists collected smoke particles on the campus of the National University of Singapore and sent the samples to their colleagues at the University of California, Irvine. UCI's researchers dated the isotopes of the particles' carbon atoms, finding them to have an average age of 800 years.

Combining this analysis with atmospheric modeling of the wind-driven movement of smoke plumes in fall 2015, the team sleuthed out the source of the harmful cloud: smoldering peat on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The findings were published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our research shows that almost all of the smoke emissions originated from the burning of Holocene-aged peat," said first author Elizabeth Wiggins, a postdoctoral research fellow at NASA's Langley Research Center who led the study as a Ph.D. candidate in Earth system science at UCI, graduating in 2018. "Although this peat has functioned as a massive terrestrial carbon storage reservoir over the last several thousand years, it is now a significant source of carbon to the atmosphere."

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Singapore, Netherlands ink environment and water management agreement

Junn Loh Channel NewsAsia 21 Nov 18;

AMSTERDAM: Singapore and the Netherlands on Wednesday (Nov 21) signed an agreement to enhance cooperation on environmental and water management.

This is the first time the two countries are signing a memorandum of understanding in the area of both environment and water.

Apart from aiming to facilitate knowledge exchange and expertise in the area of water management, the deal will look to support industry efforts to develop technologies and capabilities in water production, including through joint implementation of demonstration projects between the private and public sectors.

It also focuses on enhancing capabilities in four areas: Integrated water resource management, circular economy, climate change, and pollution prevention and control.

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Indonesia: Rising environmental concern over plastic waste polluting Indonesian seas

Fardah Assegaf Antara 20 Nov 18;

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - The carcass of a 9.5-meter-long sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) washed ashore the Kapota isle, Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi, on November 19, 2018.

Researchers of the Wakatobi Fisheries and Maritime Community Academy were shocked to find 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the whale`s stomach, including flip-flops and 115 drinking cups.

The giant mammal had ingested 750 grams of 115 plastic cups, 140 grams of 19 hard plastic, 150 grams of four plastic bottles, 260 grams of 25 plastic bags, six pieces of wood weighing 740 grams, two flip-flops of 270 grams, a 200-gram nylon sack, and over a thousand pieces of raffia string weighing 3,260 grams, Laode Ahyar, an official of the Wakatobi National Park, informed an Antara correspondent in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, on November 20, 2018.

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Surge in marine refuges brings world close to protected areas goal

Reserves cover more than five times area of US, says report, but enforcement is often poor
Jonathan Watts The Guardian 19 Nov 18;

A record surge in the creation of marine protected areas has taken the international community close to its goal of creating nature refuges on 17% of the world’s land and 10% of seas by 2020, according to a new UN report.

Protected regions now cover more than five times the territory of the US, but the authors said this good news was often undermined by poor enforcement. Some reserves are little more than “paper parks” with little value to nature conservation. At least one has been turned into an industrial zone.

More than 27m square kilometres of seas (7% of the total) and 20m sq km of land (15% of the total) now have protected status, according to the Protected Planet report, which was released on Sunday at the UN biodiversity conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

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Tharman: Collective leadership needed on sustainability

Chang Ai-Lien Straits Times 20 Nov 18;

The widespread adoption by the corporate sector of sustainable practices will not come automatically, or quickly enough, if this is left entirely to market forces, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam last night.

The companies that have moved beyond the rhetoric of sustainability, to actually alter business models and practices, are in the minority everywhere in the world, he pointed out.

There are two realities to contend with in virtually all economies, he said. One is short-termism - the trade-off between short-term returns, which drive many shareholder decisions, and long-term impact. The second is the trade-off between shareholder returns and those of all stakeholders in society.

"If we wait for markets to provide the incentives, we will lose a critical window of opportunity to address the looming challenges of climate change, depletion of natural resources and loss of biodiversity - all of which will threaten the next generation.

"This is why governments and regulatory bodies need to step in to implement policies that will incentivise sustainable practices; why all countries have to move together; and why there is a critical role for collective leadership through international and multilateral organisations."

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Indonesia: Dead whale had 115 plastic cups, 2 flip-flops in its stomach

Associated Press 20 Nov 18;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A dead whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia had a large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, including drinking cups and flip-flops, a park official said Tuesday, causing concern among environmentalists and government officials in one of the world’s largest plastic polluting countries.

Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the rotting carcass of the 9.5-meter (31-foot) sperm whale late Monday near the park in Southeast Sulawesi province after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the rotting carcass, park chief Heri Santoso said.

Santoso said researchers from wildlife conservation group WWF and the park’s conservation academy found about 5.9 kilograms (13 pounds) of plastic waste in the animal’s stomach containing 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic.

“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” said Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia.

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Indonesia: Flooding forces elephants to enter residential area

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 20 Nov 18;

Floods have forced a herd of 11 wild elephants to flee their natural habitat and enter plantation areas located near a residential compound in Tapung district, Kampar regency, Riau province.

The elephants had reportedly eaten and destroyed a cassava plantation, young oil palms and other plants before they went into hiding in the bushes located some 3 to 4 kilometers from the residential area.

The head of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA), Heru Sutmantoro, said the plantations were in what was originally the natural habitat of the wild elephants, which move from one place to another between Pekanbaru, Kampar and Siak.

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Best of our wild blogs: 20 Nov 18

[Short Film] Our Seas, Our Legacy: Episode 1 - Between the Tides
Psychedelic Nature

34th Singapore Bird Race with “Wings of Johor”
Singapore Bird Group

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NDP 2019 funpack to be more environmentally friendly: Ng Eng Hen

Channel NewsAsia 19 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: Next year's National Day Parade (NDP) funpack will be more environmentally friendly, said Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen on Monday (Nov 19).

This was a written reply in response to Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng's question on what measures are being taken to reduce single-use plastics at NDP 2019, and whether the Ministry will consider providing only reusable items with minimal packaging in the NDP 2019 funpack.

The general direction for funpack items in 2019 are for them to be reusable "when available and cost-effective", said Dr Ng.

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Climate change represents major challenges, but also opportunities: Teo Chee Hean

Singapore will continue to improve its carbon efficiency through a range of measures, which includes further encouraging the use of public transport and building the next generation of super low-energy green buildings, said DPM Teo.
Chang Ai-Lien Straits Times 19 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE - Climate change brings about not just great challenges but also opportunities, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean on Monday (Nov 19).

"Climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of our time," he said, noting that it requires a global solution, where governments, the private sector, civil society and private citizens work in unison.

But he stressed that climate change is not only about challenges and constraints; it also provides strong incentives for entrepreneurship, research and development, and creative problem-solving.

Singapore, in particular, is well-positioned to become a green growth hub and take advantage of new green growth opportunities, he said.

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Express train service on Cross Island Line off the table: Khaw Boon Wan

JANICE LIM Today Online 20 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — An express MRT train service that would get commuters more quickly from one end of the future Cross Island Line (CRL) to the other will not materialise after all.

This is after the authorities projected that just less than 5 per cent of the rail line's users would see time savings of at least 15 minutes.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Mr Ong Teng Koon, Member of Parliament for Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan also said on Monday (Nov 19) that the benefits of significant time savings do not outweigh the cost.

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Indonesia: Watch Rare Footage of the World’s Most Endangered Rhino

Joseph Hincks, Time Yahoo News 19 Nov 18;

Conservationists have released footage and photographs of the world’s rarest rhino, which counts fewer than 70 members among its population and is confined to a single national park in Indonesia.

While camera-trap images of the Javan rhino have occasionally surfaced, a WWF spokesperson says the photographs released Monday are only the third manually captured set ever published. They offer a rare glimpse of the critically endangered mammal wallowing in near-dusk light.

“Very few people have seen a Javan rhino in the wild,” says photographer Robin Moore, who snapped the images with a team from Global Wildlife Conservation and WWF-Indonesia last October. “Even some of the people who have been working on their conservation for decades have never seen one,” he says.

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Climate change: Report raises new optimism over industry

Roger Harrabin BBC 19 Nov 18;

A new report on the potential of heavy industry to combat climate change offers a rare slice of optimism.

Sectors like steel, chemicals, cement, aviation and aluminium face a huge challenge in cutting carbon emissions.

But a group including representatives from business concludes it is both practical and affordable to get their emissions down to virtually zero by the middle of the next century.

The report's been described as wishful thinking by some environmentalists.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 Nov 18

Let's help NParks stop grasscutters from littering plastic strings
wild shores of singapore

24 Nov (Sat): 'Chasing Coral' - FREE screening at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

A Hike From Mandai Track 15 to Bukit Panjang
Beauty of Fauna and Flora

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Vietnam: 12 dead in floods, landslides

AFP Yahoo News 18 Nov 18;

Hanoi (AFP) - Flash floods and landslides killed at least 12 people in central Vietnam, officials said Sunday, as hundreds of troops were dispatched to clean up destroyed villages and washed out roads.

Heavy rains pounded the central Khanh Hoa province over the past few days as tropical depression Toraji blew in from the South China Sea, triggering landslides that wiped out houses and destroyed a small reservoir.

At least a dozen people have been killed so far while a search was ongoing for several others, an official from the provincial disaster office told AFP, refusing to be named.

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Best of our wild blogs: 18 Nov 18

[Event] Diving into citizen science: Marine chit-chats, 21 November 2018
Psychedelic Nature

Singapore Raptor Report – October 2018
Singapore Bird Group

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park
Beetles@SG BLOG

Butterfly of the Month - November 2018
Butterflies of Singapore

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Indonesia: Efforts underway to save sumatran tigers from extinction

Otniel Tamindael Antara 17 Nov 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Riau Province on Sumatra Island continues to make every effort to save Sumatran tigers (Panthera Tigris Sumatrae), which are at a high risk of becoming extinct.

Although Sumatran tigers are losing their habitat and prey fast, and poaching shows no sign of decline, the Riau Natural Conservation Agency continues to take steps to protect this endangered animal.

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Indonesia: Preserving Indonesia`s sea turtles

Rahmad Nasution Antara 17 Nov 18;

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is an archipelagic nation that is blessed by the Almighty God with an array of flora and fauna, several of which are categorized as "iconic species."

According to the Ocean Health Index, a valuable tool for assessing ocean health, iconic species are "animals or plants which are important to cultural identity as shown by their involvement in traditional activities."

Indonesia is home to several iconic species, one of them being the sea turtle. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia has also reported that six of the seven living species of sea turtles that scientists recognize can be found in the country.

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Indonesia: Sumatran elephant found dead with missing tusks

AFP 17 Nov 18;

Rampant deforestation has reduced the species' natural habitat and brought them into conflict with humans
A Sumatran elephant has been found dead with its tusks removed in an apparent poaching case targeting the critically endangered animal, an Indonesian conservation official said Friday.

The 10-year-old male's rotting corpse was found in Blang Awe village in Aceh province earlier this week.

"His tusks were missing and there were traces of blood in the location where he was found," Aceh conservation centre head Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

Officials estimated the animal had been dead for at least a week when the carcass was discovered.

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Indonesia: Cleaning up Indonesia`s land and sea

Rahmad Nasution Antara 17 Nov 18;

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - Plastic waste has, since decades, undoubtedly become a major problem in Indonesia amid the government`s serious endeavor to deal with the menace by highlighting its detrimental impacts on the country`s environmental sustainability.

Plastic waste, which has a serious impact on the quality of soil and water and may threaten the existence of living creatures, is closely related to the amount of the trash produced and used by Indonesians every day.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has noted that some 9.8 billion plastic bags are used in Indonesia every year, and almost 95 percent of it will end up as waste.

The ministry`s waste management directorate also estimated that the total number plastic straws, used by Indonesians every day, reaches some 93 million, increasing from nine percent in 1995 to 16 percent this year.

In addressing this problem, the Indonesian Government is formulating a national action plan, which has five main pillars: behavior change; suppress land-based pollution; suppress sea-based pollution; suppress plastic production and use; and improve financing mechanisms, policy reform, and law enforcement.

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Best of our wild blogs: 17 Nov 18

Can I sell my giant clam ‘pearls’ or shells?
Mei Lin NEO

Google searches reveal public interest in conservation is rising

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What politics and drugs have to do with the hike in rice prices

As with some crops, the weather is one of the reasons Thai jasmine rice costs more – but the situation is more complex that just that. The series For Food’s Sake looks at the issues and some solutions.
Derrick A Paulo and Gosia Klimowicz Channel NewsAsia 17 Nov 18;

THAILAND and SINGAPORE: Because of its taste and texture, it is the key ingredient in the old favourite among Singaporeans, chicken rice. Hom Mali – or fragrant Thai jasmine rice – is also preferred by local Chinese restaurants.

It is one of Thailand’s premium exports, and the World Rice Conference has named it the world’s best rice five times since 2009. But that quality, for the most important staple in Asia, has come at an increasingly higher price.

For hawker Wong Teck Tham, the cost of the rice had increased by more than 10 per cent over the past five years, to about S$100 for every 50 kilogrammes.

He was shocked, however, when it then increased to S$108 around the middle of this year. “I’ve never used rice that’s so expensive,” he said.

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China's ban on trash imports shifts waste crisis to Southeast Asia

As plastic scrap piles up, Malaysia and others fight back.
LAURA PARKER National Geographic 16 Nov 18;

When President Donald Trump signed legislation renewing the federal marine debris program, he blamed Asia for fouling the world’s oceans. He named Japan, China, and “many, many countries” for dumping plastic waste that floats over to the West Coast.

“And we’re charged with removing it, which is a very unfair situation,” he said.

What Trump didn’t acknowledge is that plastic waste polluting the seas cannot be assigned entirely to Asia alone. East and West are inextricably connected by their plastic trash, as wealthy nations sell their recycled plastic scrap to Asia for the simple fact it’s easier to ship it around the world than process it at home.

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Worries over CO2 emissions from intensifying wildfires

Navin Singh Khadka BBC World Service 15 Nov 18;

Rising numbers of extreme wildfires could result in a significant increase in CO₂ emissions, scientists warn.

That could mean attaining the Paris climate agreement's goal of keeping global temperature rise well below 2C could become harder, they say.

Present emission-cut pledges by countries are projected to increase the average global temperature rise by more than 3C by the end of the century.

That would lead to dangerous climate change impacts, experts say.

These include sea level rise, drought, wildfires, among other extreme events.

"We can't neglect the emissions from wildfires," says Ramon Vallejo, a scientist specialising on fire ecology with the University of Barcelona.

"Particularly now that we are seeing intense wildfires all around the world."

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Caribbean swamped by seaweed that smells like rotten eggs

From Belize to Barbados, tourist beaches have been swamped by huge tides of foul-smelling sargassum – and climate change could make the problem worse
Will Worley The Guardian 16 nov 18;

“It was like something out of a science fiction movie,” says Barbara Hall from the office of the beachside hotel she runs in Placencia, southern Belize.

“I woke up at 6am, looked out my window and realised we had a big problem. It was absolutely overwhelming.”

The sight that greeted her that morning was a gargantuan tide of sargassum – a type of ocean seaweed that had swept in overnight. At sea, sargassum is an essential habitat for some marine life, but when it reaches land it rots, sucking up oxygen from the water and emitting hydrogen sulphide gas, which smells like rotten eggs.

It has washed up in the Caribbean in unusually large amounts since 2011, but this year the largest volumes ever have appeared on shores from Barbados to Mexico, with piles several feet deep stretching for miles, and dozens of metres out to sea.

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Best of our wild blogs: 16 Nov 18

Birding update on November 2018
Francis Yap Nature Photography

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Malaysia: Wild animals for sale via mail – unusual but not new

vincent tan and ili aqilah The Star 14 Nov 18;

PETALING JAYA: Using the postal system to traffic animals and other protected wildlife is not common – but not new either, said wildlife and conservation groups.

Sending animals by post has been done since 2014, said Serene Chng, a programme officer with wildlife trade monitor Traffic.

“From Traffic’s 2016 report Trading Faces, which assesses the use of Facebook to trade wildlife in peninsular Malaysia, we have documented sellers on Facebook offering to deliver live specimens by post,” Chng told The Star.

Chng explained that using the postal route was convenient, and could be fast if using express post, and levels of detection can be low.

“It is worth noting that wildlife is not only sent via parcel post, but also postal cargo, where larger volumes of wildlife parts can be transported,” she said.

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Indonesia: Sumatran tiger enters market in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 15 Nov 18;

A Sumatran tiger has been found hiding in a basement of a shophouse in a market in Pulau Burung village, Indragiri Hilir regency, Riau, stirring uproar in the densely populated area.

The presence of the tiger was first known on Wednesday at about 11 a.m. local time, when a resident spotted it walking around under the attached stilt houses belonging to Johari, Atek, Aming and Ayang.

Shortly afterwards, the picture of the tiger went viral on social media and people flocked the market to see the animal.

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Best of our wild blogs: 15 Nov 18

21 Nov (Wed): Diving into citizen science - Marine chit-chats
Celebrating Singapore Shores

The Bottled-Up Truth: Singapore's Plastic Problem
Celebrating Singapore Shores

34th Singapore Bird Race Winners
Singapore Bird Group

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Indonesia: Conservationist reveals 17 sea turtle nests spotted at Trisik Beach

antara 14 Nov 18;

Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The number of sea turtles reaching Trisik Beach, Kulon Progo District, in Yogyakarta Province has increased significantly this year as observed from the existence of 17 nests, a conservationist stated.

The nests had at least 1,700 eggs. This number sharply increased as compared to 800 recorded last year, Head of the Abadi Turtle Conservation Agency at Trisik Beach Jaka Samudro remarked here on Wednesday.

"This progress has been achieved as a result of moving the location of shrimp aquaculture rearing from Trisik Beach to the northern areas following the recent giant waves that hit the coastal area," he stated.

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Indonesia: Scientists slam govt for giving nod to Batang Toru dam

Kharishar Kahfi and Evi Mariani The Jakarta Post 13 Nov 18;

Scientists have slammed the Indonesian government for giving the controversial Batang Toru hydroelectric power plant the green light, saying that orangutans are valuable to Indonesia, like pandas are to China.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the government believed that the dam would have little impact on the Tapanuli orangutans, the rarest great ape on earth, which environmentalists call the last 800 due to its small number.

The scientists said Indonesia risked its global reputation if it does not protect them.

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Vietnam’s wetlands under threat

VietNamNet Bridge 12 Nov 18;

Wetlands in Vietnam are under threat from both natural factors and human activities.

Wetlands occupy an important place in the development of the country and are a key source of income for local communities.

With a total area of nearly 12 million hectares, accounting for 37 per cent of the country’s total land, wetlands benefit all economic sectors.

At present, many wetland areas have reduced in size. Some have become degraded or polluted, while others are not being used sustainably, requiring effective conservation and wise use.

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World has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants, warns IEA

Watchdog says new projects must be low carbon or existing plants must be cleaned up
Adam Vaughan The Guardian 13 Nov 18;

The world has so many existing fossil fuel projects that it cannot afford to build any more polluting infrastructure without busting international climate change goals, the global energy watchdog has warned.

The International Energy Agency said almost all of the world’s carbon budget up to 2040 – the amount that can be emitted without causing dangerous warming – would be eaten up by today’s power stations, vehicles and industrial facilities.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the Paris-based group, told the Guardian: “We have no room to build anything that emits CO2 emissions.”

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Best of our wild blogs: 13 Nov 18

Kid's shore activities during the December school holidays
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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China postpones lifting rhino, tiger parts ban

AFP Yahoo News 12 Nov 18;

China appeared to backtrack on a controversial decision to lift a ban on trading tiger bones and rhinoceros horns, saying it has been postponed, state media reported Monday.

The State Council, China's cabinet, unexpectedly announced last month that it would allow the sale of rhino and tiger products under "special circumstances", a move conservationists likened to signing a death warrant for the endangered species.

Permitted uses included scientific research, sales of cultural relics, and "medical research or in healing".

But in an interview transcript published by the official Xinhua news agency, a senior State Council official said the new rules have been put on hold.

"The issuance of the detailed regulations for implementation has been postponed after study," said Executive Deputy Secretary-General Ding Xuedong.

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Modest warming risks 'irreversible' ice sheet loss, study warns

Patrick GALEY, AFP Yahoo News 13 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - Even modest temperature rises agreed under an international plan to limit climate disaster could see the ice caps melt enough this century for their loss to be "irreversible", experts warned Monday.

The 2015 Paris Agreement limits nations to temperature rises "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to less than 1.5C if at all possible.

That ballpark of getting 1.5-2C hotter by 2100 is scientists' best-case-scenario based on our consumption of natural resources and burning of fossil fuels, and will require radical, global lifestyle changes to achieve.

For comparison, humans' business-as-usual approach -- if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate -- will see Earth heat by as much as 4C.

Scientists have known for decades that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking, but it had been assumed that they would survive a 1.5-2C temperature rise relatively intact.

However, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, even modest global warming could cause irreversible damage to the polar ice, contributing to catastrophic sea level rises.

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Best of our wild blogs: 12 Nov 18

2 Dec (Sun): Let’s Act on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018!
wild shores of singapore

Wild fun for kids during the December school holidays!
wild shores of singapore

Butterfly Anatomy : Part 3
Butterflies of Singapore

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Singapore works to tackle threats to food supply

Researchers studying how to develop rice that is more resistant to effects of climate change
Jose Hong Straits Times 11 Nov 18;

Rice plants stand in rows of pots, some stained yellow with fungus infections, others wilting after days without water.

Before The Sunday Times entered the greenhouse, rice researcher Rapee Heebkaew handed over white lab coats and plastic bags to place over shoes. "Wear this," she said. "You'll be fine from whatever's in there, but we need to protect the rice plants from you."

This is the Singapore greenhouse of Germany's pharmaceutical and life sciences giant Bayer, where Ms Heebkaew develops ways to make rice more resistant to rice blast fungus, a devastating infection that annually destroys so much rice that could have fed millions, and will only spread and worsen with climate change.

Since Bayer began operating its seeds laboratory in 2008, it has tested 12 rice varieties that are relatively resistant to the negative effects of climate change.

Though Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of its food, this is among its efforts to help a warming world.

Even local outfits are working on rice resilience.

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Best of our wild blogs: 11 Nov 18

Night Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (09 Nov 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Singaporeans got eat giant clams!?
Mei Lin NEO

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National sterilisation programme to manage Singapore's 7,000 stray dogs

Tan Tam Mei Straits Times 11 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE- A five-year sterilisation programme to manage the stray dog population in Singapore was launched on Saturday (Nov 10) by Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee.

Stray dogs, or "Singapore Specials" as Mr Lee prefers to call them, have caused occasional "human-animal friction" as they evoke a range of reactions from people with concerns that vary from animal welfare to public safety and public health.

"Some care for them, and feed them out of compassion. Some are oblivious to them. Other people are afraid of them, and will press the authorities to take action," said Mr Lee who was speaking at the Happy Pets, Happy 'Hoodcarnival at Hillion Mall in Bukit Panjang.

To address the different concerns, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has launched a nationwide initiative known as the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TNRM) programme, which is a humane, scientific and sustainable method of managing the stray dog population, said Mr Lee.

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What can be done to make Singapore buildings more green?

CHRISTINE LI Today Online 8 Nov 18;

The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) launched the BCA Green Mark Scheme in 2005 to encourage building owners to adopt environmentally sustainable practices. The BCA has set a target for 80 per cent of all buildings to be certified by 2030.

Today, more than 3,000 buildings – covering 89 million square metres in gross floor area - have undergone Green Mark certification. However, two-thirds of the current stock remain uncertified.

What’s holding building owners back and what can be done to make buildings here more environmentally friendly?

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Commentary: The Marina Barrage, a dream 20 years in the making

An iconic landmark, a symbol of the city-state’s success in water management, the Marina Barrage is a culmination of decades of visionary foresight, planning and execution, say Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K Biswas.
Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K Biswas Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: The Marina Barrage has become an iconic landmark and a popular social space for many Singaporeans.

Clean, green, open, free and accessible to all Singaporeans and visitors, built at a cost of S$226 million, this impressive infrastructure, with a breath-taking view of the sea, was completed only in four years in 2008.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Barrage. Its objectives range from the functional, like flood control, to the strategic, of ensuring water security, and the symbolic, in providing a landmark waterfront attraction. It has received 16 million visitors since it was built, almost three times Singapore’s entire population.

It is the result of visionary planning at the highest political level, and painstaking planning and implementation by scores of officers at PUB, Singapore’s national water agency.

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Best of our wild blogs: 10 Nov 18

Pacific Reef Egret fish sorting behaviour?
Singapore Bird Group

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The harsh realities behind the rising sugar cane prices in Singapore

With bad weather, small farms in danger of closing, larger ones downsizing and suppliers calling it quits, might Singaporeans even have to go without the popular juice? The series For Food’s Sake investigates.
Derrick A Paulo Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE and MALAYSIA: They are too young to have beer. But the many youngsters who go to Chomp Chomp Food Centre at Serangoon Gardens can still drink to their heart’s content from the popular tower dispensers at the hawker centre.

The quenchers on their tables are sugar cane towers, however, and not beer – drink stall owner Brendon Tan’s solution for his thirsty customers.

“We used to sell smaller cups,” he said. “(Gradually) we upsized from 700 millilitres to 1 litre, then 1.5 litres. People were looking for (a bigger) jug, so I thought maybe we can try a (sugar cane) tower.”

In the past year though, he had to raise the prices of the juice – for the first time in the two decades he has been selling the drink. A tower now costs S18, up from S$15.

In fact, the cost of sugar cane in Singapore has risen by much more. Between last November and this July, the price per box rose from around S$16.50 to S$29 – a 75 per cent increase.

With food prices rising by more than 10 per cent over the past five years, the series For Food’s Sake finds out what is behind the hikes in the prices of various foods and beverages.

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Sunseap to build floating solar energy generator off Woodlands

Channel NewsAsia 9 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: Sunseap, a sustainable energy provider, is building an offshore floating photovoltaic (PV) system in Singapore, it said in a press release on Friday (Nov 9).

The five-hectare development will be located north of Woodlands Waterfront Park, along the Straits of Johor.

"Originally, we were looking around the Straits of Johor; to put it simply, there was a concern about whether the floating platform would float elsewhere," said Mr Frank Phuan, co-founder and CEO of Sunseap Group.

"If you're in the southern waters, it may float to other parts that are unknown but if it's in the Straits of Johor we are restricted by the Causeway, we are restricted (within the waters) between Singapore - and Malaysia and I think the Maritime Port Authority felt that this was a safe location."

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Will lower prices in open market make consumers use more electricity? Experts weigh in

Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: As electricity retailers in the Open Electricity Market (OEM) dangle discounted tariffs at cost-savvy consumers, experts are divided over whether this could lead to higher consumption.

Some said this could lead to a "rebound effect", which refers to consumers using more electricity because it is cheaper. Others said the OEM would make users more aware of their consumption habits, leading to a decrease in consumption.

On Nov 1, the OEM was expanded to households with postal codes beginning with 58 to 78, such as those in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Yishun. This means they can switch to a different retailer that offers a cheaper electricity plan.

After the market was first opened on Apr 1 to households in Jurong, the Energy Market Authority said that roughly a third of consumers there have chosen to switch retailers, enjoying savings of about 20 per cent.

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NUS study: Mangroves can help countries mitigate their carbon emissions

National University of Singapore NewsWise 9 Nov 18;

After examining 14 of the world’s most common ecosystems, coastal environments were found to be the most effective at capturing carbon

Geographers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have found that coastal vegetation such as mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes may be the most effective habitats to mitigate carbon emissions.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Department of Geography at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, indicates that nations with large coastlines could expand these ecosystems to further counteract their fossil fuel emissions. These findings were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters on 24 October 2018. With the recent Paris Agreement setting a target for all nations to become carbon neutral in the future, utilising these natural ecosystems could help to achieve this goal.

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Best of our wild blogs: 9 Nov 18

Year-end School Holiday Promotion!
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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Indonesia: China`s decision could trigger Sumatran tiger poaching -- Environmentalist

Antara 8 Nov 18;

The medical team performed necropsy or the operation of a wild Sumatran tiger carcass that died entangled, at the office of the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Center (BBKSDA), Pekanbaru City, Wednesday (Sep 96/2018). ANTARA PHOTOS / FB Anggoro / aww.

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - China`s decision to legalize tiger bone usage for medicine has the potential to trigger poaching of Sumatran tigers, an environmentalist said.

"For us, this is a regress and leads to bad impacts on conservation efforts in countries having wildlife. China has been seen as an illegal importer and export destination of protected wildlife so far," Osmantri, coordinator of Wildlife Crime Team, told Antara here on Thursday.

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Indonesia: Floods sweep through North Sumatra, Riau and West Java

Rizal Harahap and Apriadi Gunawan
The Jakarta Post 8 Nov 18;

Heavy rain in the western part of the country recently resulted in floods and landslides in several provinces, including North Sumatra, Riau and West Java, claiming the lives of a number of people.

The body of Ulin Muslikin, a resident of Kebun Lado village in Singingi district, Riau, was found on Thursday morning after a three-day search. The 25-year-old gold miner had reportedly attempted to cross the overflowing Singingi River on Tuesday.

“The incident happened on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. [after heavy rain],” Singingi district head Irfansyah said Thursday.

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World's top fishing nations to be given millions to protect oceans

Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch major grant for coastal communities to improve the health of oceans
Hannah Summers The Guardian 29 Oct 18;

Millions of pounds’ worth of funding to tackle global overfishing and protect coral reefs will be announced at a major conference in Indonesia this week.

Politicians, marine experts and philanthropists will convene in Bali at the Our Ocean conference on Monday to agree commitments on how to address the pressures facing our oceans, including rising sea temperatures, unsustainable fishing practices, marine pollution and coral bleaching.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will announce a cash injection of $86m [£67m] to support coastal communities across 10 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru and the US.

The chosen countries are among the world’s top fishing nations, have coral reefs in their waters, or are highly dependent on fish for food.

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Best of our wild blogs: 8 Nov 18

11 Nov: Registration opens for Sisters Islands Intertidal walks in Dec 2018
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

2 Dec (Sun): Workshop on "Let’s Act on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018!"
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Artificial reef installed to help marine life thrive around Sisters’ Islands

Channel NewsAsia 8 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: The bare and sandy seabed around Sisters’ Island may soon be teeming with marine life, with the installation of a reef structure on Thursday (Nov 8).

The 10m-high concrete and fibreglass structure will act as “artificial reefs” for marine flora and fauna to colonise.

Its bumpy surface, made from recycled stone fragments, will help encrusting organisms such as barnacles or shellfish to attach themselves and grow. The fibreglass pipes will also increase sheltered areas for fishes.

This is the first of eight structures that will be lowered onto the seabed to create Singapore’s largest artificial reef habitat, in a collaboration between government agencies JTC and National Parks Board (NParks).

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Grab gets S$343 million boost from Hyundai, Kia; 200 electric vehicles from the companies to be added to fleet

ASYRAF KAMIL Today Online 7 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — Ride-hailing firm Grab has received US$250 million (S$343 million) in funding from South Korean motor company Hyundai and its affiliate Kia, and will be partnering with the carmakers to pilot a series of electric vehicle (EV) projects from next year.

As part of the partnership, 200 electric vehicles from Hyundai and Kia will be added to the Grab's fleet.

Grab earlier announced in August that it is rolling out a fleet of new electric vehicles, which will tap the fast-charging network of utility provider Singapore Power (SP). It added that drivers who take up the new model will enjoy preferential electric-vehicle charging rates at all SP Group charging stations island-wide and discounted parking at some partner venues.

In a joint media release on Wednesday (Nov 7), the companies said that they will bring together stakeholders from the EV industry to collaborate on measures to improve EV adoption and awareness in the region.

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Indonesia: Deforestation leading to Jambi flooding, warns green group

Jon Afrizal The Jakarta Post 7 Nov 18;

Excessive damage to Jambi’s forests as a result of destructive activities like illegal logging and mining, as well as land conversion, is causing routine flooding in the province, environmental group Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI Warsi) has warned.

The latest flooding caused by the deforestation occurred in Bungo regency, which saw the inundation of almost 770 houses inhabited by around 914 families last Saturday.

According to Bungo Disaster Mitigation Agency, 20 families had to leave their homes because of the flooding.

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Recovery of endangered whales hampered by humans long after hunting

Marlowe HOOD, AFP Yahoo News 7 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - When an endangered female North Atlantic right whale spends months, even years, disentangling itself from cast-off fishing nets, there's not much energy left over for mating and nursing calves.

Coping with such debris, along with ship collisions and other forms of human encroachment, have severely stymied recovery of the majestic sea mammals long after explosive harpoons and factory ships nearly wiped them out, according to a study published Wednesday.

Once numbering in the tens of thousands, the northern whale's population -- hovering around 450 today -- climbed slowly from 1990, but began to drop again around 2010.

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Best of our wild blogs: 7 Nov 18

How can we stop grasscutters from littering nylon strings?
wild shores of singapore

6 Reasons Why You Should Come Join Our Homecoming Event On November 11th
Wan's Ubin Journal

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School tries to keep buildings from ‘killing’ birds, NParks to release design guidelines next year

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 6 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — His Facebook post last month on a beautiful Jambu Fruit Dove that slammed into the glass window of a school computer laboratory went viral, but Mr Jacob Tan did not stop there.

On the very day of the incident on Oct 16, the 33-year-old biology teacher from Commonwealth Secondary School spoke to one of the vice-principals and the school’s operations manager about reducing the risk of bird collisions in future.

Within days, students pasted some paper dots on the third-floor window, where the collision occurred, to reduce its reflective area and for closure.

By Oct 29, a contractor had put up non-reflective stickers on the large glass surfaces on either side of a wetland area on the ground floor. The wetland has plants such as the sendudok that attract birds for feeding.

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Commentary: Dear Singapore, a plastic future is not fantastic

Because plastic poisons our seafood and waters and escalates climate change, moral duty demands we act urgently to eliminate all unnecessary plastic waste and redesign essential usage, says one observer.
Vivian Claire Liew Channel NewsAsia 7 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: This August, our world had its early Halloween moment.

Amidst the Hawaiian paradise, rising rockstar scientist Sarah-Jeanne Royer discovered significant methane and ethylene gas emanating from oceanic plastic waste.

Given the sheer and escalating volume of plastic waste generated, this discovery of a previously-unaccounted-for driver of climate change means more severe climate change than even the recent United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) update warned of.

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Indonesia: Two children dead in Padang flooding

Ivany Atina Arbi The Jakarta Post 5 Nov 18;

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that at least two children were killed during floods that swamped Padang, West Sumatra over the weekend.

The children were identified as Jihat Melani, 6, and Pasilah Azhan, 10, the agency has said in a release.

The flood inundated around 1,400 houses in seven districts, including Pauh, Lubuk Kilangan, Lubuk Begalung and Koto Tangah.

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Indonesia: South Sumatra plans restoration of hundreds of hectares of peat land

Antara 6 Nov 18;

Palembang, S. Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Peat land restoration would cover around 594,231 hectares in South Sumatra this year to preserve the environment, a government official said.

The process of peat land restoration is to be completed in 2020, Head of the Regional Peat Land Restoration Team Najib Asmani said here on Tuesday.

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More field trips and learning programmes for PCF Sparkletots pre-schoolers

LOUISA TANG Today Online 5 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE — All children should be able to have the richest and broadest learning experience regardless of their background, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said.

“Broadening the availability of affordable and quality childcare is one part of it, but it’s not the only thing that’s happening. You need intervention on all fronts,” she said on Monday (Nov 5) while announcing new and ongoing efforts taken by the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) to make out-of-classroom learning a key focus of its curriculum.

Mrs Teo is also the executive committee chairperson of PCF, which oversees PCF Sparkletots, the largest pre-school operator with about 43,000 children enrolled in more than 360 centres island-wide. She was officiating an event at Bee Amazed Garden in Yishun, where 60 pre-school children from PCF Sparkletots Sengkang were on a field trip to learn about honey bees.

Since late last month, PCF Sparkletots has been arranging more of such outdoor field trips for its students.

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Sighting of sperm whales in Arctic a sign of changing ecosystem, say scientists

Rare sighting in the Canadian Arctic as a growing number of species expand their range into warming waters
Leyland Cecco The Guardian 5 Nov 18;

A rare sighting of sperm whales in the Canadian Arctic is the latest sign of a quickly changing ecosystem, say scientists, as a growing number of species expand their range into warming Arctic waters.

Brandon Laforest, a marine biologist with the World Wildlife Fund, and guide Titus Allooloo were working on a project monitoring the effect of marine traffic on the region’s narwhal population when they spotted the pair of large whales just outside Pond Inlet, a community at the northern tip of Baffin Island in September.

Video of the incident, released at the end of October, captures the second known sighting of sperm whales in the region. In 2014, hunters from Pond Inlet spotted them in the area.

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More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing

SETH BORENSTEIN Associated Press Yahoo News 6 Nov 18;

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.

The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.

"It's really good news," said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that."

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Wind farm 'predator' effect hits ecosystems: study

Patrick GALEY AFP Yahoo News 6 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - Wind farms act as a top "predator" in some ecosystems, harming birds at the top of the food chain and triggering a knock-on effect overlooked by green energy advocates, scientists said Monday.

Wind is the fastest-growing renewable energy sector, supplying around four percent of global electricity demand.

Close to 17 million hectares -- an area roughly the size of Tunisia -- is currently used for generating wind energy worldwide, and researchers warned that developers had "greatly underestimated" the impact the technology has on wildlife.

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Large hydropower dams 'not sustainable' in the developing world

Matt McGrath BBC 6 Nov 18;

A new study says that many large scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment.

Dozens of these dams are being removed every year, with many considered dangerous and uneconomic.

But the authors fear that the unsustainable nature of these projects has not been recognised in the developing world.

Thousands of new dams are now being planned for rivers in Africa and Asia.

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Best of our wild blogs: 5 Nov 18

Open for registration – Love MacRitchie Walk with NUS Toddycats! on 11 Nov 2018 (Sun)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

24 Nov (Sat): NSS Kids’ Fun with Marine Life at Sentosa’s Natural Shore
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

A meat-eater’s month long affair with vegetables

Kima? Taklobo? Bénitier?
Mei Lin NEO

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Unpiloted drones could be used for maintenance checks on Southern Islands

The Singapore Land Authority is looking to use drones to perform scheduled inspections on offshore islands under its care – remotely and without a pilot. In March, SLA conducted trials on Pulau Seringat and Kusu Island – an area of some 42 hectares among the Southern Islands region – to explore the possible uses of drones for operational purposes.
Gwyneth Teo Channel NewsAsia 4 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Land Authority is looking to use drones to perform scheduled inspections on offshore islands under its care – remotely and without a pilot.

In March, SLA conducted trials on Pulau Seringat and Kusu Island – an area of some 42 hectares among the Southern Islands region – to explore the possible uses of drones for operational purposes.

Conducted with robotics experts HUS Unmanned Systems, the drone flew according to pre-planned waypoints and pre-defined flight schedules instead of being manually piloted.

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Malaysia: Two rivers dry up in Johor, allegedly from sand-mining

Part of Sungai Linggiu and Sungai Sayong allegedly used for sand-mining.
Malay Mail Today Online 4 Nov 18;

KULAI (Malaysia) — Several Orang Asli villagers in Tenggara in the south-eastern part of Johor are pleading with the authorities to investigate two shrinking rivers near their homes, which they insist is due to unregulated sand-mining activities.

Fisherman Azman Inam from Kampung Orang Asli Sayong Pinang said he and others from his village who depend on Sungai Linggiu and Sungai Sayong have been struggling to earn a living as the rivers dry up.

He added that villagers had earlier sought to bring the authorities’ attention to the problem.

“However, there is no concrete solution for us and the continued sand-mining activities have impacted our lives,” he told Malay Mail.

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Malaysia: Big returns reason why enforcement officers become masterminds in smuggling wildlife

MOHD JAMILUL ANBIA MD DENIN New Straits Times 4 Nov 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: Extraordinary profit is why some enforcement and government officers become masterminds in smuggling and the illicit trade of protected wildlife.

A source said these people were found to be colluding with poachers and have connections with international syndicates.

This was proven when several police officers as well as former officers of the Royal Customs Department were arrested in operations conducted by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) over the last few months.

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Nov 18

Sea turtle overload and other Marine Park happenings
Sisters' Island Marine Park

Butterfly Anatomy : Part 2
Butterflies of Singapore

Meat Lovers: Pitcher Plants
BES Drongos

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Singapore must do more to protect environment, guard against climate change: PM Lee

Nabila Goh Channel NewsAsia 3 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: Singapore must do more to protect the environment as the threat of climate change becomes increasingly serious both locally and globally, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Nov 3).

Speaking at the launch of Clean and Green Singapore Carnival at Wisma Geylang Serai, Mr Lee said Singapore must take steps to protect itself against the adverse effects of global warming.

“We must consider the far-reaching implications of climate change for our city, our economy, our people," said Mr Lee.

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Learn how to waste less at green carnival

Jolene Ang Straits Times 4 Nov 18;

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday launched the Clean and Green Singapore carnival at Wisma Geylang Serai, where he also planted a mango tree.

The carnival is open to the public till today and will be open for visits by schools tomorrow. Visitors to the carnival attended workshops on how to repair household appliances such as vacuum cleaners and kettles, or how to repurpose household items such as umbrellas into tote bags, among other activities.

Students who took part in the Environment Challenge for Schools, organised by the National Environment Agency (NEA), also showcased their projects.

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Malaysia: NGO wants details on protecting forest reserves

The Star 4 Nov 18;

PETALING JAYA: The Organisation for the Preservation of Natural Heri­tage Malaysia (Peka) wants more details on how the RM60mil allocation will be channelled towards protecting forest reserves.

Peka president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said its greatest fear was that the allocation, announced in Budget 2019, would not lead to changes in the logging policy of states such as Kelantan, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

“The lack of details pertaining to this allocation and other efforts related to the environment during the tabling of the Budget merely reinforces the perception that the government is still not serious in preserving and conserving our rainforests, rivers and seas,” she said.

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Indonesia: Polluted and drained, rivers cause water crisis in Surakarta

Ganug Nugroho Adi The Jakarta Post 3 Nov 18;

The city-owned water company of Surakarta (PDAM Surakarta) has struggled to provide clean water for the Central Java city for the past two weeks as rivers are dry and tainted with factory waste.

The water company has stopped the operation of its water treatment plants, forcing residents to scramble to buy gallon water jugs as an alternative. As of Saturday, the distribution of water tanks from the water company was still scarce.

“On Wednesday, we dropped 30 tanks of clean water, today 50 tanks. No permanent solution has been found since the treatment plants ceased production,” said PDAM Surakarta spokesperson Bayu Tunggul.

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Best of our wild blogs: 2 Nov 18

Saving Mandai Mudflats and Mangroves
Singapore Bird Group

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Step into post-climate change Singapore with ST's new virtual reality project

Toh Ting Wei Straits Times 1 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE - Have you ever wondered what Singapore will be like in the next century, amid all the warnings about a world drastically altered by climate change?

You can now take a step into the far future, with The Straits Times' virtual reality (VR) project, Singapore 2100: Climate changed.

The project will take viewers on a four-minute journey through Singapore in 2100, from a river cruise at Boat Quay to the Merlion Park and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark.

Users who complete a tour of these scenes will be taken to a "bonus" scene, where they can see the whole of Singapore from a bird's eye view.

Members of the public can experience this at ST's booth at the Singapore Eco-Film Festival, which is taking place now till Sunday (Nov 4) at the ArtScience Museum.

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Malaysia: Proposal to resume plastic waste APs with conditions

Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid New Straits Time 1 Nov 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Housing and Local Government Ministry is proposing that Approved Permits (AP) for import of plastic waste for recycling be resumed by limiting it to companies that fulfil certain AP conditions.

Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said this was necessary as plastic waste was a valuable commodity that could help domestic recycling factories generate revenue for the country via proper separation of plastic waste from other waste and processing.

“The ministry proposes that import licence (AP) only be resumed and limited to qualified companies that fulfil AP terms set by the ministry, as well as fixing a ratio for plastic waste importing companies by making it mandatory for usage of 30 per cent local plastic waste.

“This proposal indirectly will decrease imports of plastic waste to 30 per cent and thus boost local plastic waste recycling activities,” she said.

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Palau to ban sunscreen products to protect reefs

Matt McGrath BBC 1 Nov 18;

Palau is set to become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen in an effort to protect its vulnerable coral reefs.

The government has signed a law that restricts the sale and use of sunscreen and skincare products that contain a list of ten different chemicals.

Researchers believe that these ingredients are highly toxic to marine life, and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching.

The ban comes into force in 2020.

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Best of our wild blogs: 1 Nov 18

10 November (Sat) - Free guided walk at Pasir Ris Mangroves
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

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Nature Society urges HDB to save more of Tengah new town’s forests for wildlife

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 30 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE — The Nature Society Singapore (NSS) has called for significantly more land to be set aside for wildlife at the future Tengah new town, in a proposal that it said would reduce the number of housing units that can be built there.

Tengah, which sits between ecosystems in the Western Catchment Area and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, is couched by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to be Singapore’s first housing estate that is a “forest town”.

In its 16-page position paper posted online last week, the society said that a total of about 220ha at two ends of the 700ha site should be set aside as a refuge for animals including uncommon birds and mammals.

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Floating solar panels in Kranji could be option for private firms seeking to cut carbon footprint

Today Online 31 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE — Could the option to tap solar energy be a draw for investors in Singapore? The Economic Development Board (EDB) thinks so.

If things go according to plan, a private company could in future tap energy from floating solar panels at Kranji Reservoir.

The EDB is inviting potential users of renewable energy from the private sector to submit proposals on how they can harness solar energy from a large-scale floating solar photovoltaic system, it said on Wednesday (Oct 31).

Through a request for information, it hopes to determine the demand in the private sector for renewable energy and identify an end-user to partner with.

At the next stage, the EDB and other government agencies will require the selected end-user to do comprehensive studies on the potential environmental impact of the proposed project, before deciding whether to go ahead.

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Five countries hold 70% of world's last wildernesses, map reveals

First map of Earth’s intact ecosystems shows just five nations are responsible for most of them – but it will require global action to protect them
Lisa Cox The Guardian 31 Oct 18;

Just five countries hold 70% of the world’s remaining untouched wilderness areas and urgent international action is needed to protect them, according to new research.

Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have for the first time produced a global map that sets out which countries are responsible for nature that is devoid of heavy industrial activity.

It comes ahead of the conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt in November where signatory nations are working towards a plan for the protection of biodiversity beyond 2020.

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