Best of our wild blogs: 18 Feb 18

Why have an EIA Law? The Case for Public Participation

Butterfly of the Month - February 2018
Butterflies of Singapore

Read more!

Malaysia: Cold weather on East Coast may recur

Bernama New Straits Times 17 Feb 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: The cold weather experienced in several areas in peninsular Malaysia is a temporary phenomenon but it can recur if the north-east monsoon cold winds from Siberia and China blow towards peninsular Malaysia.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET Malaysia) director-general Alui Bahari said cold weather and thick fogs in the East Coast states, interior of Kedah and north Perak had returned to normal since Feb 12 with daily minimum temperature readings of 20 degree Celsius and upwards at the meteorological stations.

He said the cold weather might be repeated in February next year if there was cold north-east monsoon wind movements from China and the sky was cloudless at night.

“Climatologically, February is a period of lowest daily minimum temperature compared to other months in the states on the East Coast, the interior of Kedah and north Perak,” he told Bernama here today.

He said this when commenting on media reports recently that Kuala Krai on Feb 11 had experienced an extraordinary weather by recording its lowest temperature of 18.4 degree Celsius.

Alui said the cold weather from Feb 9 to 11 in Kelantan was felt in Terengganu and Pahang as well as in the interior of Kedah and northern Perak.

Meanwhile, Alui said MET Malaysia from time to time issued warnings in the event of thick fog due to cold weather and turbulent seas rendering it unsafe for sea and air transport movement activities. “The information will be channelled to the public and related parties including the Department of Civil Aviation, the Fisheries Department of Malaysia, the Marine Department of Malaysia and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency,” he said.

Asked on the possible recurrence of the Cyclone Tembin that hit the Philippines in December last year and its impact on Sabah, Alui said at present there was a tropical cyclone, namely, Sanba Tropical Storm in the southeast of the Philippines.

Accordingly, MET Malaysia would issue weather warnings from time to time for the state of Sabah if heavy rains and strong winds were expected to occur in the state, he said. -- BERNAMA

Read more!

Thailand: Dugong population at 20-year high

APINYA WIPATAYOTIN Bangkok Post 17 Feb 18;

The dugong population in the South has risen at the highest rate in more than two decades, says Kongkiat Kittiwatthanawong, director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

Citing preliminary results of data collected in an aerial survey conducted from Monday until yesterday, Mr Kongkiat said 210 dugongs were found and the largest herd of the mammals observed consisted of 30 members including 10 mothers and their offspring.

At least 42 couples of mother and offspring dugongs were found and counted in the survey, he said.

The survey was conducted in Trang province, the largest habitat for dugongs in the country, using a small plane flown by foreign pilots, he said, adding that the locations included in the survey were Hat Chao Mai National Park and Mu Ko Libong Non-Hunting Area.

The number of dugongs found in the Trang survey will later be analysed and used to calculate the average population of the mammals, he said.

Also found in the survey were 19 dolphins and 57 sea turtles, he said.

In last year's survey, only 169 dugongs were found, he said, adding that the latest survey reflected a rise in density of the dugong population.

A key factor contributing to the population growth in the South is believed to be successful attempts to initiate cooperation in the fishery communities in avoiding using fishing equipment that may hurt dugongs and other rare marine species.

The number of dugongs found dead on beaches last year was six, he said.

Based on this year's figures, he said the number of dugongs found next year should probably rise to between 240 and 250.

Sitakan Thawisuwan, who specialises in rare marine species, said final figures from this year's survey will be released soon.

Dugongs, commonly known as sea cows, are often found in shallow coastal waters in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.

Read more!