Best of our wild blogs: 3 Jan 18

Internship with NUS Toddycats, Jan – Jul 2018

Visiting a rare mangrove tree at Pasir Ris
wild shores of singapore

A Christmas Cuckoo Present
Singapore Bird Group

The Dorsal Effect Background info recap
The Dorsal Effect

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Malaysia: Female elephant found electrocuted

manjit kaur and rashvinjeet s. bedi The Star 3 Jan 18;

IPOH: In another blow to Malaysian wildlife, a two-tonne elephant has been found dead – this time, electrocuted by a live wire from roadworks.

The female pachyderm was believed to be rummaging for food when it was electrocuted after destroying a cabin set up by contractors carrying out roadworks near Tasik Banding in Gerik.

The 40-year-old elephant might have been pregnant or recently gi­­ven birth as it was producing milk.

Perak Wildlife and National Parks principal assistant director Wan Shaharuddin Wan Nordin said the elephant was found dead at about 7.30am yesterday although it could have been electrocuted much earlier.

“We immediately alerted Tenaga Nasional Bhd to disconnect the supply,” he said, adding that no criminal element was found in the case.

The deaths of a sun bear and a tapir due to road accidents on Christmas Eve have alarmed conservationists. The carcass of the tapir was later skinned by a group of men.

Last year, a calf and a 10-year-old elephant were killed by vehicles along the Gerik-Jeli Highway.

The Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants, which has been tracking the herd the female elephant belonged to, said the animal might either be pregnant or had just given birth.

“We are not sure about this at the moment but there was milk coming out from its breasts,” said its field manager Alicia Solana.

“It is very common for them to roam around this area beside the highway as there is plenty of grass and suitable food.”

Solana said it was believed that the elephant was electrocuted after pushing against the zinc wall of the cabin.

“It is a big loss emotionally for this herd as we see them very often,” she said.

Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia co-founder and CEO Andrew Sebastian said contractors should have been more alert and careful when setting up cabins in areas with wildlife.

“There are plenty of signboards along the Royal Belum-Temenggor and East-West Highway warning motorists and the public about the presence of elephants,” Sebastian said.

Female elephant electrocuted near Gerik
Nuradzimmah Daim New Straits Times 2 Jan 18;

IPOH: A 2,000kg female elephant was found dead in Dataran Juang, Kem Sri Banding near Gerik after it was believed to have been electrocuted by a live wire.

State Wildlife Department acting director Wan Shaharudin Wan Nordin the department received a call from the public on the incident at 7.30am today.

"When we arrived at the scene near the Tasik Banding army camp, we discovered the elephant carcass lying on its side. The Tenaga Nasional Bhd personnel had temporarily shut down the electrical supply.

A 2,000kg female elephant was found dead in Dataran Juang, Kem Sri Banding near Gerik after it was believed to have been electrocuted by a live wire. Pic by NSTP/ Courtesy of PDRM
"The elephant weighed about two tonnes and its feet are 0.35m in diameter," he said in a statement.

It was believed that the elephant was part of a group of females looking for food when the incident occured.

Post mortem conducted today revealed no foul play was involved in the incident.

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Malaysia: Continuous rain floods parts of Malaysia

Today Online 2 Jan 18;

KUALA LUMPUR — Parts of Malaysia were hit by floods on Tuesday (Jan 2) after constant rainfall over the long New Year weekend affected nearly 1,500 people in six states.

Pahang was one of the worst hit states, with over 700 people from 183 families from the Rompin, Kuantan and Jerantut districts evacuated to 11 flood relief centres.

Pahang Civil Defence Force director Zainal Yusof said 349 people from 95 families were evacuated to five relief centres in Rompin.

A total of 96 people from Kuantan were evacuated to four flood relief centres, while in Jerantut, two villages were cut off after the access road was flooded at about 11am on Monday.

The two villages — Kampung Teresek and Kampung Belebar — were inhabited by nine and six families, respectively.

In Johor, some 373 people from the districts of Mersing and Kota Tinggi were evacuated to nine flood relief centres.

Mr Ayub Rahmat, chairman of the State Health, Environment, Education and Information committee, said 95 families were evacuated from their homes early Tuesday morning.

“Mersing is currently the worst hit with 337 people seeking shelter at seven flood relief centres,” he said in a statement published on The Star Online.

“Two more centres were opened up at Kota Tinggi to accommodate 34 victims.”

In the east coast state of Terengganu, the number of flood victims in the Dungun district rose to 233 people from 79 families as of Tuesday morning, compared with 55 people from 20 families on Monday night.

The level of water from the nearby Sungai Dungun river is at 21.33m, which is above the 21m danger level.

In Kelantan, Astro Awani reported that 150 school children from the Gua Musang district were unable to attend the first day of the new school year after the nearby Galas river burst its banks.

Three areas in the district were inundated with flood waters and some 46 victims are currently being housed in relief centres.

In Sabah, 288 people from 78 families had to be evacuated when continuous rains caused flooding in villages near the Tongod district.

Three primary schools were closed in Sarawak due to floods, affecting 330 pupils. The Sarawak state disaster management committee said access roads to the three schools were cut off due to rising flood waters. AGENCIES

371 flood victims evacuated in Johor
kathleen ann kili The Star 2 Jan 18;

JOHOR BARU: The number of flood victims have risen to 371 people evacuated to nine flood relief centres in two districts in Johor.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that the 95 families were evacuated from their homes as of 6am on Tuesday (Jan 2).

"Mersing is currently the worst hit with 337 people seeking shelter at seven flood relied centres.

"Two more centres were opened up at Kota Tinggi to accommodate 34 victims," he said in a statement here.

"The relevant government agencies are monitoring the situation to ensure victims are provided with necessary aid," he noted, adding that the downpour in Mersing continued.

Water level in Pahang's 3 major rivers surpasses danger level; flood evacuees up to 947 people
T N ALAGESH New Straits Times 2 Jan 18;

KUANTAN: The number of flood evacuees in Pahang rose to 947 as at 7pm compared to 489 people earlier today.

Pahang Civil Defence Force director Colonel Zainal Yusof said 458 people from 111 families were taking shelter at six flood relief centres in Rompin, while 489 people from 152 families were seeking shelter at seven relief centres in Kuantan.

The number of flood evacuees in Pahang rose to 947 as at 7pm compared to 489 people earlier today. Pic by NSTP / MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL
He said in Rompin, 168 people were seeking refuge at the Setajam multipurpose hall, 64 at Kampung Painggu Hall, 17 at the Telok Gading Hall, 53 at Kampung Sepayang multipurpose hall, 104 at SMK Pontian Jaya and 52 at SK Sarang Tiong.

In Kuantan, a total of 156 flood evacuees sought refuge at the Sri Damai public hall, 76 at Pandan 2 multipurpose hall, 30 at the District Drainage and Irrigation Department Hall, seven at Kampung Paya Bungor hall, 164 at SK Fakeh Abdul Samad, 52 at SMK Gudang Rasau and four at SMK Sungai Lembing.

Zainal said the water level at three main rivers – Sungai Belat in Sri Damai (5.84 m), Sungai Lepar (30.12 m) and Sungai Tembeling in Kuala Tahan, Jerantut (68.61m) – has surpassed its danger level and continues to show a rising trend.

Heavy rainfall set to subside
The Star 3 Jan 18;

PETALING JAYA: The heavy rainfall in Pa­­hang and Johor are expected to subside soon, prompting a downgrade from Red Alert to Orange Alert by the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia).

MetMalaysia director-general Alui Bahari said the weather had calmed down and heavy rainfall in these areas is only expected to last until today.

The Red Alert was earlier issued for Pekan and Rompin in Pahang and Mersing in Johor.

“Yesterday, we recorded more than 300mm in rainfall in some areas. But the wind patterns have now improved, so we are expecting lower rainfall.

Red Alert signifies continuous heavy rain exceeding 240mm a day while Orange Alert indicates continuous heavy rain for more than six hours and rainfall of at least 60mm.

Yellow Alert means continuous heavy rain for not more than six hours with rainfall of at least 60mm.

Yellow alerts have been issued for Kema­man in Terengganu; Kuantan in Pahang; Se­gamat, Kluang and Kota Tinggi in Johor; Ku­­dat, Sandakan, Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Tua­ran, Kota Belud and Ranau in Sabah.

The alerts have been stopped for Dungun in Terengganu; Maran, Bera, Jerantut, Temer­loh and Bentong in Pahang; Tangkak, Muar and Batu Pahat in Johor; Jelebu, Jempol, Tam­pin, Kuala Pilah and Rembau in Negri Sembi­lan; and Melaka.

The notice was issued by MetMalaysia at 1.30pm yesterday.

Alui said no heavy rainfall or strong winds are expected to disrupt the festivities on Chinese New Year (Feb 16).

Meanwhile, a check on the Drainage and Irrigation Department’s (DID) publicinfo­ website showed that water levels at certain river stations in Pahang and Johor were still above danger levels.

In Pahang, Sungai Tembeling, Kuala Tahan; Sungai Belat, Sri Damai; and Sungai Lepar, Jambatan Gelugor; have exceeded the danger level at their respective measuring stations.

In Johor, Sungai Lenik in Ladang Chaah exceeded the danger level of 6m by 0.03m.

Sungai Dungun in Kuala Jengai, Terengganu, also recorded water levels above the 21m mark by 0.64m.

Bernama reported that Kelantan DID ex­­pects floods to hit six districts in the state’s river basin at 1am today.

The Kelantan DID director Kamal Mustapha named the districts as Gua Musang, Kuala Krai, Machang, Pasir Mas, Tanah Merah and Tumpat.

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Keep global warming under 1.5C or 'quarter of planet could become arid'

A global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels could see many regions facing an increased threat of drought and wildfires, study suggests
Hannah Devlin The Guardian 2 Jan 18;

More than a quarter of the planet’s surface could become significantly drier if global temperatures rise 2C above pre-industrial levels, scientists predict.

The study, which is one of the most detailed assessments to date of future aridity, suggests that many regions could face an increased threat of drought and wildfires.

Limiting global warming to under 1.5C would avoid extreme changes for two-thirds of these areas, the study suggested.

Chang-Eui Park, the first author from the Southern University of Science and Technology (Sustech) in Shenzhen China, said: “Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity. It can also lead to more droughts and wildfires similar to those seen raging across California.”

Aridity is a measure of the dryness of the land surface, which can be calculated by combining predictions of precipitation and evaporation.

The scientists studied projections from 27 different global climate models to pinpoint regions where the land is expected to become significantly drier, as global warming reaches 1.5C and 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Manoj Joshi, a co-author of the study from the University of East Anglia (UEA), said: “Our research predicts that aridification would emerge over about 20 to 30% of the world’s land surface by the time the global mean temperature change reaches 2C. But two-thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to 1.5C.”

Drought severity has already increased across the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and the eastern coast of Australia during the 20th century, while semi-arid areas of Mexico, Brazil, southern Africa and Australia have started turning into desert as the world warms. The study suggested that equatorial regions and countries at high latitudes could get wetter.

Prof Tim Osborn, also one of the study’s co-authors from UEA, said: “The areas of the world which would most benefit from keeping warming below 1.5C are parts of south-east Asia, southern Europe, southern Africa, Central America and southern Australia where more than 20% of the world’s population live today.”

The findings are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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