Best of our wild blogs: 19-20 Aug 18

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

30 Sep (Sun): Seringat Trail kayaking with Kayakasia
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Night Walk At MacRitchie Reservoir Park (17 Aug 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Beting Bemban Besar a.k.a BBB
Offshore Singapore

Butterfly of the Month - August 2018
Butterflies of Singapore

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Helping households take a shine to LED lights

Rahimah Rashith Straits Times 19 Aug 18;

All households in one-and two-room public housing flats in the North East District will each receive a $25 voucher to redeem LED lights, in an effort to help residents be more environmentally conscious through using bulbs that reduce energy consumption.

The initiative was launched by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and North East Community Development Council (CDC) yesterday in Punggol North.

Singapore's total household electricity consumption has gone up by about 17 per cent in the last decade. An NEA study showed only 28 per cent of households in one-and two-room flats use LED lights, which are the most energy-efficient type of lights.

The programme will enable 13,000 households to reap cost savings in their utility bills.

If all these households switch their bulbs to LED, they are expected to collectively save about 360,000 kilowatt hours annually. This is equivalent to more than $70,000 in energy savings and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by more than 150 tonnes per annum.

All eligible households in the North East District will be notified via mail over the next two months to collect their $25 vouchers from designated collection points, such as their nearest community centre. They have to pick them up within six months of being notified.

According to NEA, there are, on average, about four to five light bulbs in each one-or two-room flat, and the $25 voucher should cover the cost of replacing them with LED bulbs. The voucher can be used at all Home-Fix, Selffix and Sheng Siong stores here, Philips Light Lab as well as roadshows organised by the NEA and North East CDC.

The NEA is looking into progressively rolling out the programme to other districts.

Its chief executive officer Ronnie Tay said: "Taking care of the environment can be done through simple ways. By choosing energy-saving appliances, households can not only save energy and reduce their utility bills, but also reduce carbon emissions."

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who was guest of honour at the event, also encouraged residents to do their part for the environment. He said: "The Government cannot tackle climate change alone. Using less electricity at home is one simple climate action that we can all take."

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Like real meat, but guilt-free? Beyond Burger debuts in Singapore

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 18 Aug 18;

SINGAPORE — They look, cook and supposedly taste like real meat patties, except they are not.

After making waves in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong, Beyond Burger's plant-based (or vegan) patties made their South-east Asian debut in Singapore on Thursday (Aug 16) at a food truck outside the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel.

Five hundred burgers costing S$10 each were sold on the day, the hotel's food and beverage director Jerome Pagnier said, and patrons were queueing on Friday afternoon for more of the same.

The food truck will operate until Saturday from 3pm to 8.30pm, and from Monday, the burgers will be available at the hotel's mezza9 restaurant.

Beyond Burger is among the plant-based protein products that food technology firms in the US have rolled out in recent years to give meat products a run for their money. Plant-based protein incurs a smaller carbon footprint than animal agriculture, which is one of the world's major contributors of greenhouse gases.

Besides Beyond Meat — the maker of the Beyond Burger — the other firm that has drawn extensive media coverage and high-profile investors is Impossible Foods.

Singapore investment fund Temasek is an investor in Impossible Foods while Beyond Meat's investors include billionaire Bill Gates and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Beyond Burger is available only at the Grand Hyatt Singapore for now. A lunch or dinner set consisting of a plant-based burger and a side of fries, cauliflower, broccoli or grains will cost S$25++ at mezza9, less than a beef burger (220g patty) on its dinner menu that costs S$32++.

A 113g Beyond Burger patty contains 20g of protein, comparable to beef.

Mr Pagnier said that the hotel wanted to introduce a plant-based protein that mimicked the taste of beef, and had its eye on a few companies.

He got in touch with Mr David Yeung, the founder of Hong Kong social enterprise group Green Monday, through a friend. Green Monday distributes Beyond Meat's products in Hong Kong and this is where Mr Pagnier said the hotel is getting its Beyond Burger supply.

Mr Pagnier, 35, became a vegan two years ago after watching the documentary Cowspiracy, about the negative effects of animal farming on the environment.

"It made me want to give the chance to others to try plant-based alternatives to what they usually eat," he said.

The hotel also offers a plant-based Italian lunch buffet at its Pete's Place restaurant, uses certified-sustainable seafood, and, about four months ago, began using only cage-free eggs — laid by hens that are not confined in wire battery cages.

Not all customers who bought Beyond Burgers from the food truck knew the burgers were meat-free and some were surprised to know the patties were not made of beef, Mr Pagnier said.

Some customers approached by TODAY on Friday said that they were trying to cut down on meat consumption while others were vegetarian.

Member of Parliament Louis Ng, 39, heard about the food truck and made a trip down with his daughter. "I'm vegetarian but hate vegetables, so this is heaven to me," he said. "It tastes like the real thing, but is guilt-free."

Another customer, development manager Pei Yeo, 38, learnt about the food truck through a group for vegetarians. She had heard of Beyond Burger and was curious to try it. "I do eat meat but I try to eat more plant-based stuff," she said. "I think it is quite similar to a real burger."

Other plant-based proteins available in Singapore include Quorn, a British brand. Its products can be found in supermarkets.

Last year, TODAY reported that Singapore food technology start-up Life3 Biotech had developed a plant-based protein called Veego that it was hoping to produce on a larger scale.

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Malaysia: Water bombing intensified in Kuala Baram raging forest fire

The Star 20 Aug 18;

MIRI: More than 70 rounds of aerial water bombing have been conducted here to contain a raging forest fire in Kuala Baram district.

The fire has caused the Air Pollutant Index to hover at the 113 unhealthy level mark as of yesterday morning.

Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong in his latest update said the Bomba Air Unit would conduct more water bombings to try to contain the blaze.

“We carried out 70 rounds of aerial water bombings on Saturday. This morning we did more rounds,” he said.

Bomba Miri air unit intensifies aerial water-bombing in Kuala Baram district this morning, the second day running as Air Pollutant Index was at 113 unhealthy level this morning. Bomba Miri pic
Fire-fighters are also on the ground battling the fires raging on peat soil.

While the aerial water bombing was being carried out, there was slight drizzle that helped clear the haze.

Kuala Baram is also one of the affected areas.

The state authorities are also worried about haze coming from west Kalimantan, where there are already more than 120 hotspots raging.

Fires in areas measuring one sq km in size and above are termed hotspots as they can be detected by satellites.

Water-bombing intensifies in Kuala Baram, raging forest fire worsens haze
stephen then The Star 19 Apr 18;

MIRI: The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department in Miri has intensified aerial water-bombing operations to contain a raging forest fire in Kuala Baram district.

The fire has also worsened the haze, recording an Air Pollutant Index (API) level at 113 on Sunday (Aug 19) morning. A reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate and 101-200 unhealthy.

Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the Bomba air unit will be dropping more water to control the flames from spreading.

"Yesterday, we carried out 70 rounds of aerial water-bombings.

Fire-fighters are also on the ground battling the flames on peat soils.

The wildfire in Kuala Baram is one of dozens that are burning throughout the state.

Authorities are also worried about the haze and smog coming from west Kalimantan.

There are already more than 120 huge fires raging in the area.

Those fires measuring one sq km in size are called hotspots as they can be detected by satellites even 100km above earth.

Water bombing operations begin as forest fire rages in Kuala Baram
stephen then The Star 18 Aug 19;

MIRI: The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department in Miri has started aerial water bombing operations to contain a raging forest fire in the Kuala Baram district.

The fire had already spread to 32 hectares of land and was nearing the Komplexs Hamidah orphanage, said Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong.

Supt Law in his latest update to Sarawak Bomba said the Bomba Air Unit would be dropping water from nearby sources to try and contain the flames.

"Firefighters are also on the ground battling the fires which are burning in peat soil," he said.

Aerial pictures show smoke visible for kilometres in the sky. The wildfire in Kuala Baram is just one of dozens that are burning throughout the state now.

State authorities are also worried about haze and smog coming from west Kalimantan, where there are more than 120 huge fires raging.

Fires measuring more than one sq km in size are called hotspots as they can be detected by satellites 100km above earth.

Haze report: API reading in Miri soars to 'very unhealthy' 228
Esther Landau New Straits Times 18 Aug 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: Although the haze eased for much of the country today, Miri, Sarawak found itself shrouded in smoke.

As of 3pm, the Air Pollution Index (API) reading for the city soared to 228, which is considered “very unhealthy” by the Department of the Environment.

According to the Air Pollutant Index of Malaysia (Apims) website, the next highest readings – categorised in the “moderate range” – were led by Mukah, Sarawak (85), Kuching and Kuala Selangor (both at 84), and Batu Muda here (83).

The rest of the country recorded readings in the “moderate” and “good” categories.

Apims categorises a reading of between 0-50 as “good”, 51-100 as “moderate”, 101-200 as “unhealthy”, 201-300 as “very unhealthy”, and 300 and above as “hazardous.”

Meanwhile, a post on the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s Facebook page said that it, together with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) and National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) carried out cloud seeding operations on Aug 17 over Kampung Johan Setia, in Selangor.

It was reported that a peat fire caused by open burning had been raging in the area and was the partial cause of the haze in central Peninsular Malaysia.

For more information, visit

Environment Department monitors peatland fires
AUDREY VIJAINDREN New Straits Times 18 Aug 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Environment Department has raised concern over possible increase in peatland and forest fires in the country due to the current dry season.

Its director Datuk Dr Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim said several fire prone areas have been identified and were being closely monitored.

"Our concern are peatlands in Johan Setia, Klang, northern and southern part of the Kuala Langat Forest Reserve, and bushes and peat areas in Dengkil,” he said.

“In Pahang, Rompin, Bera and Pekan are our worry. In Sarawak, hotspots included Miri, Kuala Baram, Permy Jaya, and Mukah's peatland area.

“In Terengganu, fire prone areas included Kampung Tok Kah, Besut and Dungun peatland. While in Kelantan, Bachok peatland area has been identified as a hotspot.” he said.

When asked about the use of cloud seeding to control the haze problem, Ahmad said the number of operations needed would depend on how long the haze would last.

On Friday, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the cloud seeding operations could only be done with enough presence of clouds.

She reportedly said that the haze situation was bad especially in the north of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

As of 5pm today, the highest Permy Jaya in Sarawak recorded "very unhealthy" Air Pollutant Index (KPI) of 226 while Tawau, Sabah recorded “good” of 48.

A reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate and 101-200 unhealthy.

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Malaysia: Douse haze from the source in Indonesia

razak ahmad The Star 10 Aug 18;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should ask Indonesia to do more to put out fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra which are contributing to the haze that has reached high levels in Sarawak, says a climate expert.

Universiti Malaya climate expert Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah said there was strong evidence that fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra were the major contributor of haze in this country.

“We have an Asean level transboundary haze agreement which Indonesia is part of. So, we should engage Indonesia as it is the main source of our haze,” said Prof Azizan amid worsening air quality, especially in Sarawak.

In Miri, the Air Pollutant Index (API) broke past the 200 point and hit 228 as at 1pm on Saturday.

Air quality is classified as good when the API is 50 and below, and moderate when the API reading is between 51 and 100.

An API of between 101 and 200 means the air quality is considered unhealthy.

A reading of 201-300 means that the air quality is very unhealthy and an API of more than 300 is hazardous.

Air quality in other parts of the state was moderate but several had API readings nearing 100, including Kuching (95), Mukah (89) and Sarikei (86).

Temperatures in several parts of Malaysia have been rising due to the current southwest monsoon, which started in the third week of May. The hot and dry weather during this time contributes to the spread of forest fires and open burning, which causes the haze.

On Aug 13, the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) activated a Level 2 haze alert for the Southern Asean region.

Level 2 means that there are over 150 hotspots in two consecutive days with dense smoke plumes, with dry weather persisting and prevailing winds blowing towards Asean countries.

Dry weather, said the ASMC, had led to deterioration of the situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

“In West Kalimantan, moderate to dense smoke haze from persistent hotspots has been observed and the prevailing winds could blow the haze toward western Sarawak,” the ASMC said.

An interactive map – accessible at, which provides a visualisation of global weather conditions – shows a high concentration of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) over the hotspots in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

The map’s PM2.5 readings are sourced from, among others, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Prof Azizan said PM2.5 was more dangerous compared to the bigger PM10 particulate matter that some air quality measurements were based on.

“This is because PM2.5 particulate is smaller in size and is easily absorbed into the respiratory system causing harm,” he said.

Since Aug 16, the Department of Environment had improved its API measurements by measuring PM2.5 particulate compared to PM10 previously.

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Malaysia: Injured pygmy elephant recovering well

stephanie lee The Star 18 Aug 18;

KOTA KINABALU: An endangered Borneo pygmy elephant rescued from Sabah's east coast is recovering from the injury sustained when its foot was caught in a snare trap.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Christina Liew said the animal was responding well to preliminary treatment, but it had to be taken to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary (BES) in Kinabatangan for better care.

Liew said wildlife rangers were having trouble approaching the elephant, which could become aggressive when afraid or stressed.

"So far, all looks good. The wound on its leg seems to be healing well," she said in a statement late Friday.

She said the elephant was being transferred to the BES on Saturday (Aug 18).

The male elephant, aged between seven to nine years, suffered an injury to its front right leg in the Taliwas area in Lahad Datu and was rescued by rangers late Tuesday (Aug 14).

The snare caused a two-inch deep wound on the leg, which was infested with maggots.

Pgymy elephants in Sabah continue to face threats from human activities such as development and poaching.

Numerous elephant deaths and injuries have been reported over the years.

This year alone, more than 10 elephants have been reported dead with dozens more injured, mostly due to snare traps and gunshots.

However, authorities are still unable to uncover the parties responsible as no one – including estate workers or villagers – seem to have witnessed anything.

Rescued Pygmy elephant succumbs to injuries from snare trap
natasha joibi The Star 20 Aug 18;

KOTA KINABALU: The Borneo Pygmy elephant rescued in Taliwas, Lahad Datu last week, has succumbed to his injuries a day after being translocated to the Borneon Elephant Sanctuary (BES) in Kinabatangan.

The young male elephant was expected to undergo further treatment at the sanctuary for an injury on his front right leg caused by a snare trap set by poachers.

Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur'Ain Ampuan Acheh said the animal was found to be very weak and unable to stand up on Sunday (Aug 19), five days after being rescued by rangers on Tuesday (Aug 14).

"Despite hours of emergency treatment, he could not be saved and was confirmed dead at 3pm on the same day.

"A post-mortem has been conducted and the cause of death was multiple organ failure caused by septicaemia which resulted from the critically deep snare trap wound that was suspected to be more than five weeks old," she said.

The elephant was aged between seven and nine years old.

Since April this year, some 19 rescued jumbos, including the latest case, have died from various reasons including poachers' traps.

Siti Nur'Ain said four elephants died this year from injuries caused by snare traps in Sabah.

Pygmy elephant rescued from Lahad Datu snare trap dies
Kristy Inus New Straits Times 20 Aug 18;

KOTA KINABALU: A Borneo pygmy elephant which was rescued from a snare trap a week ago in Taliwas, Lahad Datu, died from injuries sustained from the illegal device just a day after being translocated to the Bornean Elephant Sanctuary (BES).

The male, estimated to have been between 7 and 9 years old, was scheduled to undergo further treatment for his wound at the BES, said Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh.

It was earlier reported that the pachyderm was showing signs of improvement, and that its badly-infected snare trap wound was healing.

“The animal was found to be very weak on Sunday morning, having been unable to stand up.

“Despite hours of emergency treatment, the animal could not be saved and was confirmed dead at 3pm on the same day.

“A post-mortem has been conducted and the cause of death was multiple organ failure caused by septicaemia (blood poisoning) brought about by the deep snare trap wound which is (believed to have been) more than five weeks old,” Siti Nur’ain said in a statement.

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Malaysia: Reforestation is the way forward

The Star 19 Aug 18;

PUTRAJAYA: A massive reforestation programme, including to rehabilitate land left barren by logging, is expected to be introduced, says Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

A non-governmental organisation called the Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre (TRCRC) would receive a grant from the Norwegian government to conduct the reforestation, said the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister.

“It’s like an FDI. You come in, we sell green bonds. We say we are doing reforestation. We give you the land, you come and plant,” he said in an exclusive interview with Sunday Star recently.

After a cycle of six to seven years, the forest could be reharvested for a downline industry such as bio plastics.

Dr Xavier said that currently, 52% of Malaysia was under forest cover but if Sarawak and Sabah were not included, Peninsular Malaysia would not even reach 50%.

He said that three states – Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan – were undergoing rapid deforestation due to logging.

“The states will say that it is their only source of revenue,” he said, adding that illegal logging was not much of a problem now compared to before as they had drones to monitor forests.

He said in terms of permit values, the logging could be worth RM500mil a year to the states, but the industries could be 10 times the amount.

“We can tell them you cannot log anymore, we have to preserve the water basins. There are dams built and water retention areas built.

“So they turn around and tell you if don’t want us to log, give us compensation. How do you calculate the value? It’s not sustainable that way,” he said.

He gave the example of the Ulu Muda forest reserve in Kedah as one that was experiencing deforestation at a very rapid stage.

He said the forest reserve acted as a water catchment area for Kedah, Penang, Perlis and Langkawi.

He, however, said that a balance was needed because the removal of forests could cause natural disasters such as floods and landslides, as what happened in Penang and Cameron Highlands in recent years.

“And these are not one-offs. They are bound to happen again but I can’t tell you when,” he said.

Deforestation is the second leading cause of global warming, and has been linked extreme weather occurrences and the increasing severity of the floods in the country, such as those seen in Kelantan and Johor in recent times.

Deforestation is also threatening the livelihood and survival of the orang asli.

Malaysia is a signatory of the 1992 Rio Convention, with the country pledging to maintain 50% of land area under permanent forest and tree cover.

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