Best of our wild blogs: 24 May 18

10 Jun (Sun): Dive clean up of the Sisters' Islands Marine Park
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

23 Jun (Sat): Southern Islands Sea Kayaking with Kayakasia
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

24 Jun (Sun): FREE Cach'in in Ubin with Outward Bound Singapore
Pesta Ubin 2018

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2018
Singapore Bird Group

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Woman fined S$4,000 for illegally importing sugar glider

Channel NewsAsia 23 May 18;

SINGAPORE: A 24-year-old woman has been fined S$4,000 for illegally importing a sugar glider, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Wednesday (May 23).

Nur Syahirah Hussein was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint in February. During immigration checks, a live baby sugar glider was found in a red pouch she was carrying.

Sugar gliders - small, omnivorous animals that belong to the marsupial family - are considered exotic wildlife that are not allowed to be imported as pets in Singapore.

The red sling pouch which was used to carry the animal. (Photo: AVA)

In addition to the charge of importing animals without a valid licence, a second of charge of failing to ensure that the animal was not subjected to unnecessary suffering was also taken into consideration, said AVA.

"The introduction of such animals may impact our local biodiversity should the animal be inadvertently released," said AVA.

"More importantly, exotic animals may introduce undesirable animal diseases into Singapore, which could threaten local animal and public health."

AVA reminded travellers not to import live animals, birds and insects illegally.

Anyone found guilty of doing so can be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for up to a year.

Source: CNA/ad/(gs)

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Malaysia: Sabah imposes short-term ban on log exports

Kristy Inus New Straits Times 23 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will stop exporting logs temporarily to ensure there is enough to meet domestic needs.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this was decided today following a briefing with state-sanctioned organisation Yayasan Sabah Group (YSG).

“I will instruct Sabah Forestry (Department) and authorities for the export of logs to be banned until further instruction from the state government.”

He said YSG would review its investments and not get involved in high-risk areas where it lacked expertise, but did not elaborate.

Shafie gave assurances that YSG would continue to provide scholarships as this was pledged during the election campaign.

Asked whether YSG would go on handing out cash bonuses, Shafie stressed that it would be better to provide jobs and educational assistance rather than cash handouts.

Asked to comment on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the fact that he was one of the few to speak out about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case, Shafie said he did it for the country.

“I told the previous prime ministerwhat needed to be done. It was up to him.

“For me it was not a problem as I did it for my country. All the rest, like the position of minister, are not important,” he said.

“If there is a need for advice, then we will advise.”

Yesterday , former MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull pointed out that only three former cabinet ministers – Shafie, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah – had dared to speak out about the 1MDB case and it had cost them their jobs.

‘Logging to benefit Sabah first’
stephanie lee The Star 24 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will stop the export of its logs overseas so that local industries get priority to timber.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he would direct for the ban to be implemented immediately after instructing the Forestry Department.

“This ban will be on until further notice,” he said after a briefing at Yayasan Sabah here yesterday.

This move, he said, was to ensure logging activities benefited Saba­hans first.

Annually, the state exports between 200,000 and 300,000 tonnes of logs to countries such as China, Japan, the Philippines and India.

Shafie said the meeting at Yayasan Sabah was to brief the officials on the new state government’s policies and direction.

Being an entity, which had helped Sabahans in terms of employment, education and business opportunities, Yayasan Sabah, said Shafie, would continue to play a huge role in the state’s socio-economic development.

However, he said, he was not satisfied with its current condition.

“Our direction now is to focus on strengthening existing programmes so that these may benefit Sabah to the fullest,” he said.

Shafie said ventures in grey areas or those with uncertain financial viability would cease.

The state government, he added, would also focus on providing sustainable assistance such as scholarships and job opportunities and not handouts to staff and its partners.

On claims by some Barisan Nasional leaders that “someone” had tried to sell Yayasan Sabah in the past, Shafie declined comment.

“However, I will be investigating where the plots of land allegedly meant to be sold are and who manages these,” he said.

Sabah state govt to review all logging concessions, Forest Management Units
MOHD IZHAM UNNIP ABDULLAH New Straits Times 28 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: After announcing the temporary ban on export of logs last week, the state government today announced efforts to review all logging concessions and Forest Management Units (FMUs) in Sabah.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the move was to ensure FMU-related logging activities were done in accordance with regulations to avoid further damage to forests, water catchment areas and the wildlife habitat.

The study was also to manage illegal logging activities which were still believed to be happening at reserve forests, as well as ensuring the FMUs follow transparent procedure like replanting of forests and not plant oil palm instead.

He will be briefed in detail on these concessions and FMUs by the Sabah Forestry Department next week, Shafie told reporters after the state cabinet meeting here.

“The drastic move is needed before things get worse and destroy the conservation policies practiced by the government.

“We will review all concessions and FMUs (whether they have followed regulations) as issues like elephant deaths might be related to these activities.

“We will focus on critical areas like water catchment and wildlife habitat.

“Legal action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct,” he stressed.

Shafie said he was informed by the Forestry Department that there were incidents of water catchment including reserve forest areas being encroached.

“We must determine why reserve areas were used for logging. I am aware that it is one of the state’s resources but we must make sure it does not turn into a problem for Sabah,” he said.

On the ban of logs exports to outside of Sabah, Shafie said this included logs that had been put in ship cargo and those waiting for trans-shipment.

He said these logs could not be released and could only be sold to local industries using the raw material such as furniture factories.

Last week after attending a closed-door briefing by state-sanctioned Yayasan Sabah Group, Shafie made the announcement to stop the export of logs from Sabah to ensure supply was sufficient for local demand.

Sabah govt firm on log ban, says Shafie
The Star 30 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: The state go­vernment will not entertain any lobbying or give exceptions to the ban on logs, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic).

The Sabah Chief Minister said the temporary ban, which was agreed upon during Monday’s Cabinet meeting, would remain in place until certain matters were resolved.

“There are serious issues to be studied thoroughly in relation to the logging industry in the state and I have to put my foot down in the best interests of the people.

“It is a very tough decision but it has to be done. In fact, it should have been implemented a long time ago,” he said.


“I am all for our logs to be processed locally so that legal sawmills can operate and provide sawn timber and other value-added pro­ducts.

“This in turn would create more job opportunities for the people,” he said.

He said Sabah Forestry Depart­ment had been instructed to inform all industry players, as well as operators of Forest Management Units for them to comply with immediate effect.

Shafie also said the decision was made following a briefing by Yayasan Sabah Group Forestry division after it revealed that exclusive contractors held a monopoly and took the bulk of profits.

“I was told that Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd, the operator of Yayasan Sabah’s timber resources, has been in the red for four out of five years since 2013.

“From a lucrative subsidiary earning billions of ringgit, Rakyat Berjaya can now be best described as an ailing company with a bleak future unless drastic steps are taken to reform it,” he said.

Rakyat Berjaya operations also seem to indicate that the company can make better profits if logs are processed into sawn timber and sold by the company instead of depending on exclusive contractors.

Shafie said such practices must stop for the benefit of the people.

“There is an urgent need to put matters right.

“I will pave the way for Yayasan Sabah to regain its glory days so that it will be able to finance its core activities of providing education and free medical services to the needy,” he said.

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Hitting toughest climate target will save world $30tn in damages, analysis shows

Almost all nations would benefit economically from keeping global warming to 1.5C, a new study indicates

Damian Carrington The Guardian 23 May 18;

Achieving the toughest climate change target set in the global Paris agreement will save the world about $30tn in damages, far more than the costs of cutting carbon emissions, according to a new economic analysis.

Most nations, representing 90% of global population, would benefit economically from keeping global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the research indicates. This includes almost all the world’s poorest countries, as well as the three biggest economies – the US, China and Japan – contradicting the claim of US president, Donald Trump, that climate action is too costly.

Australia and South Africa would also benefit, with the biggest winners being Middle East nations, which are threatened with extreme heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival.

However, some cold countries – particularly Russia, Canada and Scandinavian nations – are likely to have their growth restricted if the 1.5C target is met, the study suggests. This is because a small amount of additional warming to 2C would be beneficial to their economies. The UK and Ireland could also see some restriction, though the estimates span a wide range of outcomes.

The research, published the journal Nature, is among the first to assess the economic impact of meeting the Paris climate goals. Data from the last 50 years shows clearly that when temperatures rise, GDP and other economic measures fall in most nations, due to impacts on factors including labour productivity, agricultural output and health.

The scientists used this relationship and 40 global climate models to estimate the future economic impact of meeting the 1.5C target - a tough goal given the world has already experienced 1C of man-made warming. They also assessed the long-standing 2C target and the impact of 3C of warming, which is the level expected unless current plans for action are increased.

“By the end of the century, we find the world will be about 3% wealthier if we actually achieve the 1.5C target relative to 2C target,” said Marshall Burke, assistant professor at Stanford University in the US, who led the new work. “In dollar terms, this represents about $30tn in cumulative benefits.”

The estimated cost of meeting the 1.5C target is about $0.5tn over the next 30 years,” he said: “So our evidence suggest the benefits of meeting the targets vastly outweigh the costs.”

“We also calculated what’s going to be the additional economic cost if we hit 3C instead of 2C. This will cost the globe an additional 5-10% of GDP, relative to 2C; that is tens of trillions of dollars. These are very large numbers,” he said.

The researchers acknowledge there are significant uncertainties in their economic modelling, but said they are confident that keeping climate change to 1.5C is very likely to benefit the vast majority of the world’s people.

The exact size of the benefit will depend, for example, on whether new technologies are created that help societies adapt to global warming, such as clean, cheap air conditioning, or whether climate tipping points are passed, bringing more severe damage such as rapid sea level rise. “The caveats apply to both the impacts and the adaptation,” said Prof Noah Diffenbaugh, also at Stanford University.

The economic analysis did not include the impacts of climate change on areas that are harder to quantify, such as the natural ecosystems that are vital for clean air and water and fertile soils, or the health benefits of burning less fossil fuel. Including these would make the benefits of action even greater.

Prof Maximilian Auffhammer, at the University of California Berkeley, US, and not part of the research team said: “Translating the impacts of climate change into economic damages is challenging. Pinning down just how large the effects of climate will be on the long-term growth of GDP needs to be a high priority for future work.”

“I think the authors of this study are doing the best job possible, by basing their estimates on a rigorous analysis and clearly stating their assumptions,” said Prof Wolfram Schlenker, at Columbia University, US.

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