Best of our wild blogs: 26 Jun 18

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wild shores of singapore

15 Jul (Sun): Kayak Punggol to Ubin with Kayakasia
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Palm oil giant Wilmar still linked to Indonesia logging: Greenpeace

AFP Yahoo News 25 Jun 18;

The world's largest palm oil trader is still linked to deforestation in Indonesia despite committing five years ago to stop logging the archipelago's vast tracts of jungle, Greenpeace said Monday.

Singapore-listed Wilmar International has close family ties to Gama, a major Indonesian palm oil plantation company which the environmental group said has destroyed an area of rainforest twice the size of Paris.

Gama was set up by Wilmar's co-founder and his brother in 2011 and its land concessions are owned and managed by the pair's relatives, according to Greenpeace.

The group said mapping and satellite analysis showed Gama had destroyed 21,500 hectares (53,000 acres) of rainforest or peatland since Wilmar's commitment to stop logging in Indonesia.

"For years, Wilmar and Gama have worked together, with Gama doing the dirty work so Wilmar's hands stay clean," said Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia's Indonesian forests campaign.

"Wilmar must immediately cut off all palm oil suppliers that can't prove they aren't destroying rainforests."

In response to the report, Wilmar said it operates separately from Gama.

"Wilmar executives with familial ties with Gama Corp do not hold any decision-making power or influence on Wilmar's sustainability policy," the company said in a statement.

Greenpeace said the palm oil giant's chief executive had also responded in a letter denying influence over Gama.

Palm oil is a key ingredient in many everyday goods, from biscuits to shampoo and make-up.

Growing demand for the commodity has led to an industry boom in Indonesia, which is the world's top palm oil producer.

Green groups have long accused palm oil companies of rampant environmental destruction.

Many firms have made "no deforestation" pledges after coming under pressure, but activists say such commitments are hard to monitor and frequently broken.

As well as the destruction of rainforest, clearing peatland to make way for palm oil plantations causes enormous environmental damage.

Huge amounts of carbon are released when peat is drained or burnt, exacerbating climate change, according to environmentalists.

Peat fires are also difficult to put out and a key factor in outbreaks of toxic smog which choke Southeast Asia almost every year.

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Malaysia: Beach clean up programme a boon for turtle awareness

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 25 Jun 18;

SEMATAN: A beach-clean up programme organised by a local environmental group has been helping to promote awareness about turtle conservation in the islands off the coast of Sarawak.

The latest series in the programme involved 13 youth volunteers from the Sarawak Eco-Warriors who visited Talang-Talang Besar and Talang-Talang Kecil islands near here.

The group departed from the Sematan Jetty and arrived at the turtle nesting ground on the islands after a 20 minute boat ride.

Project manager Celine Tiang said the visit aimed to aid in the conservation of sea turtles. Volunteers were tasked to pick up rubbish from the beach and painted the park rangers’ headquarters.

“Apart from collecting rubbish, we want to inspire, educate and empower the local community about environmental concerns.

“We need to start doing it before we can encourage the locals to follow suit. It is a continuous effort as we don’t believe we can achieve our objective with just one program,” said Tiang.

She said the Sarawak Eco-Warriors have been organising beach clean-ups for over a year.

Recently, the group visited turtle nesting grounds as to expose their members to the current threats faced by sea turtles.

Talang-Talang Besar Island and Talang-Talang Kecil Island are essential nesting grounds for sea turtles in Sarawak.

Sea turtles face numerous threats including entanglement in fishing nets, habitat destruction, water pollution, poaching, predation of eggs by monitor lizards and other wild animals as well as ingestion of marine debris such as plastic bags.

The preservation of nesting grounds on the islands have helped to reduce these threats and provide refuge for the turtles.

According to a park ranger, about 50 turtles come to lay their eggs per night during the peak nesting season. The turtles would come back again if there is no space at that time.

Tiang said the volunteers had a chance to see green turtle hatchlings in the recent programme.

“This is a fresh and rare experiences for most of our volunteers as the islands are not open for public. It has given them a deep insight about how they should really do something to save the environment now,” she said.

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Indonesia: 50 monkeys rescued from street masked monkey show

Andi Firdaus Antara 26 May 18;

A long tailed monkey (Macaca fascicularis) perfoms an attraction in a masked monkey show in Depok, West Java. (ANTARA Photo/Indrianto Eko Suwa)

Bekasi, W Java, June 25 (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) has rescued at least 50 monkeys from persons running the "topeng monyet," local term for masked monkey show, in several regions of Indonesia`s West Java Province.

"As of June 2018, we have rescued 50 monkeys through a joint program, called Stop Topeng Monyet, with the West Java Provincial Administration," Coordinator of Wildlife Trade Confiscations of JAAN Wildlife Division, Zai, said here on Monday.

The long-tailed macaques were rescued from several districts, such as Bandung, Cirebon, Tasikmalaya, Bogor, and Bekasi.

JAAN revealed that the long-tailed macaques are extremely popular in Indonesia as they are used as dancing monkeys. They are called Topeng Monyet in Indonesian language.

Having conducted observations during the Stop Topeng Monyet program, JAAN and the local administration of West Java have set a target to rescue 500 animals from street masked monkey shows in the region.

They revealed that Bekasi District has the most Topeng Monyet shows than the other regions in West Java.

"We found out that these monkeys were brought from Tasikmalaya. We have data showing that there are 500 families that train monkeys for Topeng Monyet shows there," Zai revealed.

The rescued monkeys will undergo rehabilitation and treatment for three years before being released to the Tilu Mountain of Soreang, Bandung, West Java.

They will be divided into four groups, each consisting of 15 monkeys.

JAAN`s program in rescuing long-tailed macaques from being exploited as performers in the Topeng Monyet show is in line with the instruction of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to protect wild animals.

"Wild animals are better in the forest," Zai stated.

JAAN is a non-governmental and non-profit organization dedicated to improve the lives of Indonesia`s animals.

JAAN has for years been at the forefront of the campaign against illegal trade of endangered and rare animals, wildlife conservation, and animal adoption.

Editor: Andi Abdussalam

JAAN detects number of wounds on monkey`s body in Bekasi
Andi Firdaus Antara 26 Jan 18;

Bekasi (ANTARA News) - Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) has detected around three wounds on the body of a long-tailed monkey, which roamed freely and disturbed local residents, in Pondok Mitra Lestari Housing, Bekasi City, West Java Province.

"One wound was caused by a wind rifle, and two other wounds were caused due to a sharp scratch," Coordinator of Wildlife Trade Confiscations JAAN Wildlife Division, Zai, stated here.

He noted that the monkey was evacuated from Pondok Mitra Lestari Housing, Jatiasih Sub-District, Bekasi City, on Monday afternoon.

According to him, there were gunshot wounds on the right shoulder of the monkey, while scratches were found on the right finger and thigh.

Zai suspected that the wound was caused by attacks from unscrupulous citizens, who were uncomfortable with the presence of the male monkey alpha type.

This monkey, which was owned by the local people since a few years, was estimated to be over the age of 10.

The monkey had injured two officers of the housing security unit in the past week. The officers were given four stitches after the monkey bit them, causing a two-centimeter-deep injury in their arm.

"Currently, there are two monkeys left that still roam freely in this housing. Therefore, we have set two automatic trapping units," he added.

The evacuation process of the wounded monkey was conducted, along with eight members of Bekasi City Fire Department, for an hour.

"Our strategy is to prepare a dosage of 0,5 mill and to take it veterinarian to check the wound, then we will take it to the rehabilitation center in Lembang, Bandung District," he remarked.

Zai also appealed to the local community to act persuasively against wild monkeys and to avoid provoking it.

"For emergency, please contact us on our hotline of 082210800810," he urged. *** 4 ***

Editor: Andi Abdussalam

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Mumbai bans plastic bags and bottles

Indian city to fine or jail residents caught using single-use plastics
Michael Safi The Guardian 25 Jun 18;

Mumbai has the become the largest Indian city to ban single-use plastics, with residents caught using plastic bags, cups or bottles to face penalties of up to 25,000 rupees (£276) and three months in jail from Monday.

Council inspectors in navy blue jackets have been posted across the city to catch businesses or residents still using plastic bags. Penalties have already kicked in for businesses and several, reportedly including a McDonald’s and Starbucks, have already been fined.

Penalties range from 5,000 rupees for first-time offenders to 25,000 rupees and the threat of three months’ jail for those caught repeatedly using single-use plastics.

“For the pollution situation it’s fine to do this but for the people it is a big problem,” said Kamlash Mohan Chaudhary, a Mumbai resident. “People here carry everything in plastic bags.”

Chaudhary, a taxi driver, said he had started carrying a cloth bag and that his local mutton vendor had begun wrapping the meat in newspaper rather than plastic sheets.

Local media have reported complaints from vendors who say some inspectors are using to extort money from businesses.

India recently hosted World Environment Day, which this year focused on the epidemic of plastic waste. About 6.3bn tonnes of plastic globally has been discarded into the environment since 1950, most of which will not break down for at least 450 years.

Half of the world’s plastic was created in the past 13 years and about half of that is thought to be for products used once and thrown away, such as bags, cups or straws.

India’s use of plastic is less than half of the global average: about 11kg a year per capita compared with 109kg in the US.

India has among the highest rates of in the world, according to a 2015 study. Strewn plastic wrappers, cups and bags are a common sight on the streets of Indian cities and beaches and make up part of the mountain-sized landfills on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas such Delhi.

Discontent about Mumbai’s ban was made worse on Monday by torrential rain, which Chaudhary said had soaked through the jute or cloth bags many people were using as an alternative to plastic.

Messages were circulated on WhatsApp with stories of people who had been fined, prompting many to comply. “We are all very afraid,” he said.

Last straw for McDonald's, Burger King in Mumbai plastic ban
AFP Yahoo News 26 Jun 18;

Mumbai (AFP) - Burger King, McDonald's and Starbucks are among dozens of companies fined for violating a new ban on single-use plastics in India's commercial capital Mumbai, an official said Tuesday.

The rules, in force since Saturday, prohibit the use of disposable plastic items such as bags, cutlery, cups and bottles under a certain size.

Businesses and residents face fines of between 5,000 rupees ($73) for a first-time offence to 25,000 rupees ($367) or even three months in jail for repeat offending.

Some 250 officials, wearing blue uniforms and dubbed Mumbai's "anti-plastic squad", have been deployed to carry out inspections of restaurants and shops across the teeming coastal city of 20 million.

Nidhi Choudhari, a deputy municipal commissioner in charge of enforcing the ban, said 660,000 rupees ($9,684) in fines had been collected during the first three days.

She said 132 premises had been issued with penalties including outlets of Burger King, McDonald's and Starbucks.

A branch of Godrej Nature's Basket, a high-end Indian supermarket, had also been penalised, Choudhari added.

"All were fined for using banned plastic straws and disposable cutlery etc," she told AFP.

A spokesperson for Starbucks in India said the company complies with local laws in all of its markets and was committed to "environmental sustainability".

Hardcastle Restaurants, which runs the McDonald's franchise in Mumbai, said it had "successfully transitioned from plastic to eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives" such as wooden cutlery.

Authorities hope the ban will help clean up Mumbai's beaches and streets, which like other cities in India are awash with vast mountains of plastic rubbish.

Plastic has also been blamed for blocking drains and contributing to flooding during the city's four-month-long summer monsoon.

Authorities first announced the ban -- which covers the whole of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital -- three months ago to allow businesses to prepare.

The majority of India's 29 states have a full or partial ban on single-use plastics but the law is rarely enforced.

Choudhari said more than 8,000 businesses had been searched in Mumbai alone and at least 700 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) of plastic seized.

Small traders, however, have claimed that the crackdown threatens their livelihoods.

Retailers associations say a confusion over what is and isn't allowed has led small grocery stores to remain closed for fear of being fined.

The Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India estimates that 300,000 people employed in the industry could lose their jobs.

The United Nations warned earlier this month that the world could be awash with 12 billion tonnes of plastic trash by the middle of the century if use is maintained at current levels.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently pledged to make India, which was the host of this year's International Environment Day, free of single-use plastic by 2022.

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