Best of our wild blogs: 28 Feb 19

Discover your natural heritage with Love MacRitchie walks, Jan – Jun 2019

Shore exploration for kids with Young Nautilus
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Great day at Chek Jawa on a Saturday morning
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

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Local barramundi farm scales up with $2 million nursery extension

Cheryl Teh Straits Times 27 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - Local barramundi farm Barramundi Asia has scaled up its operations with a new $2 million extension to its nursery.

With this extension, the farm expects to increase its fish production threefold to almost 1.8 million fish fry a year.

That will bring the farm's expected yield to 6,000 tonnes of fish yearly, which is more than what Singapore's 120 fish farms produced in 2018.

The nursery, located in the south of Singapore on Pulau Semakau, now has 1,200 sq m more space and the addition of eight giant 50 cubic m tanks.

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MPs ask for easy access to data and a Climate Change Act

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 27 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — Members of Parliament (MPs) called for clearer communication of policies and more support for those with mental health issues on the second day of the Budget 2019 debate on Wednesday (Feb 27).

Over six hours, 25 Members of Parliament (MPs) — including Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Minister of State (Manpower and National Development) Zaqy Mohamad — spoke on the Budget, which was delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat last week.

The MPs raised wide-ranging issues such as the rising cost of living, providing more support to women and a proposal to ban streaming in secondary schools.

“Health” was the most frequently cited word during the second day of the Budget debate, coming up 157 times. This was followed by “work” and “help”, which were mentioned 81 and 77 times, respectively.

The MPs raised wide-ranging issues such as the rising cost of living, providing more support to women and a proposal to ban streaming in secondary schools.

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Second Johor hotspot detected; fires could bring 'some smell and haze' to Singapore: NEA

Channel NewsAsia 27 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: Another hotspot has been detected in Johor about 50km to the east-northeast of Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Wednesday (Feb 27).

Smoke from the hotspot, which was detected on Tuesday, was blown southwest by prevailing northeasterly winds, the agency said, adding that it had received feedback from members of the public that day about a burning smell across many areas of Singapore.

In its update, NEA also said that the hotspot detected earlier this week 30km east of Singapore was due to a fire at an oil palm plantation in Johor.

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Malaysia: With drying rivers, Sabah has just two months of water reserves

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 27 Feb 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Water reserves at Sabah’s major dams are at a comfortable 80 per cent – but with eight major rivers having plunged to their critical levels, and another nine to their alert levels, the state has only two months of water supply remaining.

State Water Department director Amarjit Singh said that overall water storage levels at major dams in Sandakan, Kudat, Penampang, Tamparuli, Semporna and Lahad Datu are relatively high – but with depleted rivers at critical levels amidst the ongoing heatwave, the dams’ water supplies are not being replenished.

Residents of several areas are already grappling with water shortages and dry faucets.

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Malaysia: Gebeng fire claims 60ha

nik naizi husin The Star 28 Feb 19;

KUANTAN: A fire is raging across some 60ha of land in the Gebeng industrial area and threatening to spread further as alerts go up around the country in the face of a heatwave.

The scorching hot weather is expected to last until the end of next month.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Nor Hisham Mohammad said firemen from the Gebeng station, with the cooperation from the Gebeng Emergency Mutual Aid team, were on standby round the clock to put out the fire and control it from spreading.

Nor Hisham said so far, only 20% of the affected area had been put out and they had requested aerial assistance from headquarters for the operation.

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Malaysia seizes 3,300 rare turtles in suspected trafficking case

Reuters 27 Feb 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian authorities seized about 3,300 rare pig-nosed turtles on Wednesday suspected of being smuggled into the Southeast Asian country.

The turtles, found in Australia and on the Indonesian island of Papua, are endangered due to high demand from exotic pet traders, wildlife experts said.

Seven packages of turtles were discovered during a boat inspection near Johor on Malaysia’s southern coast, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said in a statement, adding that two people were arrested.

The value of the seized turtles was estimated at 150,000 ringgit ($36,909), the agency said.

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Best of our wild blogs: 27 Feb 19

Unscience the Giant Clams!
Mei Lin NEO

Shore exploration for kids with Young Nautilus
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Malaysia: Water reserves at two major Johor dams dip to critical levels

New Straits Times 27 Feb 19;

KOTA TINGGI: The water level at the Sungai Lebam Dam, near here, has dropped to almost two metres below the critical point.

The dam normally enjoys an effective capacity of 14m – but the water level currently stands at just 10.9m, much lower than the 12.7m critical point, Bernama reported.

As such, residents in and around Kota Tinggi have been urged to use water sparingly until the current dry spell ends.

“The dam currently has enough water to supply residents for about 70 days.

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Malaysia: 40ha of Pahang forest, peat land on fire

T.N. Alagesh New Straits Times 26 Feb 19;

KUANTAN: Some 40ha of forest and peat land near the Gebeng Industrial area, near here, caught fire yesterday afternoon.

Thick smoke enveloped the industrial area today as firemen and Gebeng Emergency Mutual Aid (Gema) members worked to prevent the blaze from spreading to the nearby Kuantan bypass stretch and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP).

Pahang Fire and Rescue Department chief Nor Hisham Mohammed said the fire broke out about 2.30pm yesterday and firemen were working around the clock to bring the situation under control.

“The affected area is about 101ha and fire is ravaging some 40ha of land,” he said.

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Indonesia: Forest fires gut 1,136 hectares of area in Riau

Antara 26 Feb 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Forest fires have gutted a total of 1,136 hectares (ha) of forest and plantation areas in Riau Province since January 2019.

The figure showed an increase of 150 ha within the last 48 hours, Edwar Sanger, head of the Riau disaster mitigation office, stated here on Tuesday.

Hotspots were detected along the coastal regions of Riau, such as Bengkalis, Dumai, Rokan Hilir, and Indragiri Hilir, he noted.

A joint team comprising local firefighters, disaster mitigation personnel, and military and police officers were deployed to extinguish the fires.

Water bombs were also dropped from a Casa 12 aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force to put out the blaze that has produced haze on Rupat Island.

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Millions of fish have been dying in Australia’s major rivers

Ruby Prosser Scully New Scientist 26 Feb 19;

Fish have been struggling to breathe and dying by the millions on the banks of Australia’s largest river system. Experts say that without serious change, it will continue to happen.

Poor management, excess upstream irrigation and drought led to three mass deaths of endangered fish species during December and January in the Murray-Darling Basin. These deaths included Murray cod fish that were decades old, according to an investigation by the Australian Academy of Science that was published last week.

Craig Moritz at the Australian National University in Canberra, who chaired the investigation, says the sight of millions of dead fish should be a wake-up call. He described the mass fish deaths as a mainland equivalent of the coral bleaching events that have been hitting the Great Barrier Reef.

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Best of our wild blogs: 26 Feb 19

Open for registration – Love MacRitchie Walk with NUS Toddycats! on 10 March 2019 (Sun)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

16 Mar (Sat): The Singapore Blue Plan joins Celebrating Singapore Shores at Berlayar Creek
Singapore Blue Plan

Showing our love for the environment @ NUS PEACE Animal Day 2019

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Hotspot in Johor could bring 'slightly hazy' conditions to Singapore: NEA

Channel NewsAsia 25 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: A hotspot in southern Johor could bring "slightly hazy" conditions to Singapore if the winds change, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Monday (Feb 25).

The hotspot was detected about 30km to the east of Singapore, NEA said.

"Prevailing winds over Singapore have been blowing from the northeast, but a change in the wind direction could bring slightly hazy conditions to Singapore," it added.

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Malaysia Heatwave: MetMalaysia issues 'Level 1' alert for 10 areas nationwide

Hashini Kavishtri Kannan New Straits Times 25 Feb 19;

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued a Level 1 alert yesterday for ten areas in the country amidst the ongoing nationwide heatwave.

According to MetMalaysia’s official website, the Level 1 areas are Chuping (Perlis); Kubang Pasu, Kota Setar and Sik (Kedah); Hulu Perak, Kuala Kangsar and Kinta (Perak); Maran (Pahang); Kepong (Kuala Lumpur); and Muar (Johor).

The alerts were issued after the ten areas experienced maximum temperatures of between 35°C and 37°C for three consecutive days.

MetMalaysia’s weather overview for the month of Feb also reported that most of Peninsular Malaysia experienced dry conditions, with rainfall of less that 150mm.

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Indonesia takes steps to prevent wildfires ahead of El Nino

Straits Times 25 Feb 19;

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Indonesian government has declared 16 provinces in the country prone to forest and land fires ahead of the upcoming El Nino, a climate pattern linked to warming waters in the central and eastern areas of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Such weather phenomena are known to trigger an extension of the dry season in Indonesia, which can increase the risk of wildfires.

An official with the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Bambang Sugeng, said the emergency declaration that certain areas were wildfire-prone was made as a warning for these regions to stay alert to prevent forest and land fires.

"We are prioritising some provinces, such as South Sumatra, Jambi, Aceh and Riau," Mr Bambang said after a meeting in South Sumatra recently. He added that most of these regions have vast areas of peat land that could easily burn during the dry season.

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Indonesia: Governor calls on people to cultivate peatlands for farming

Antara 25 Feb 19;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan, Feb 25 (ANTARA News) - West Kalimantan Governor Sutarmidji has called on people to utilize peatland areas in the region to plant horticulture commodities as part of the efforts to prevent land and forest fires in the region.

"People will surely be able to prevent fires from arising in the land after they begin cultivating it for farming," Sutarmidji stated here on Monday.

He cited the example of North Pontianak`s farmers, who have produced some 30 tons of different vegetables daily from 800 hectares of land.

"In fact, many types of crops can be cultivated in peat soil, such as the Pontianak sweet taro, which is known for its good quality," he added.

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Cambodia: Poachers kill elephant in wildlife sanctuary

AFP 25 Feb 10;

An elephant has been found dead with its tusks and tail sliced off in a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia, where wild elephant numbers have dwindled to just a few hundred due to poaching and deforestation.

The Southeast Asian nation has emerged in recent years as a key transit hub for the multi-billion dollar illicit wildlife trade, with demand for products made from tusks, pangolin scales and rhino horns high in China and neighbouring Vietnam.

According to the Mondulkiri Project, an animal rescue NGO, there are about 400 elephants in the wild in Cambodia, and about 50 held in captivity.

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Best of our wild blogs: 25 Feb 19

Singapore Bird Report – January 2019
Singapore Bird Group

Flora and Fauna of Tampines Eco Green Park
Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

16 Mar (Sat): TeamSeagrass joins Celebrating Singapore Shores at Berlayar Creek

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Singapore’s farming revival: 'Tech is the only way to go'

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 24 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s agriculture sector is no longer what it once was.

But far from being a sunset industry facing obsolescence, the sector is actually in the midst of a rejuvenation, fuelled by cutting-edge science and technology, and given fresh relevance by the urgent need to boost food security amid rapid climate change.

Local farmers say they are doing their best to adopt the latest technologies to raise their efficiency and productivity, and forming collaborations with partners who can help them scale up their operations and go global.

Venture capital firms, known more for betting on the next Alibaba or Grab, are starting to get in on the action, investing in innovative agrifood tech start-ups.

While the sector is fast becoming a hive of innovation, farm operators and experts say more can be done to support its future growth: The nurturing of young Singaporeans to ensure a pipeline of agritech talent and the promotion of local produce among consumers.

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Saving water less of a concern for younger residents: Study

Tee Zhuo Straits Times 25 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - A culture of saving water has become watered down here, going by a government study.

A focus group study by national water agency PUB and government feedback unit Reach revealed that younger Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) appear to be less concerned about the sustainability of the country's water supply than older residents aged 55 and above.

The findings were released ahead of a new campaign to get Singaporeans to save water.

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Malaysia: Dry spell to last until end of March

New Straits Times 25 Feb 19;

THE sweltering heat that enveloped many parts of the country is expected to last until the end of next month.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department said the hot weather was a normal occurrence that marked the end of the monsoon sea son.

This will be accompanied by low rainfall, with temperatures expected to soar between 34°C and 36°C instead of the normal range of 32°C and 34°C.

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Malaysia: Tawau firefighters save beached dolphin

ABDUL RAHEMANG TAIMING New Straits Times 24 Feb 19;

TAWAU: Firefighters rescued a dolphin that was stranded at the beach near Bha Zhong commercial centre here at noon.

The 1.7m adult sea mammal was found by the public.

District Fire and Rescue chief Sharudy Delamin said they were alerted at 12.05pm and had despatched seven officers, machinery and emergency medical service van.

He said the dolphin was trapped in shallow water.

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Malaysia: Illegal plastic recycling plants - 'Operators shifted to other states'

Dawn Chan New Straits Times 24 Feb 19;

SHAH ALAM: THE authorities are hot on the heels of illegal plastic recycling factory operators who have taken the move to “decentralise” their activities following a major crackdown in Selangor.

In the past year, numerous massive coordinated enforcement operations mounted by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) and joined by the local authorities, as well as about six to seven agencies, including Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and the Department of Environment (DoE), have forced operators to shut down their illegal businesses in Selangor and move elsewhere.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said there was information that the illegal operators that imported plastic waste from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand had shifted their operations to other states throughout the country.

It is learnt that there are now such activities in Negri Sembilan, Kedah and Johor.

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Indonesia: 100 soldiers flown to Riau to help fight land, forest fires

Antara 24 Feb 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - A company of 100 soldiers from the Army`s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) arrived in Riau province on Sunday to help fight forest and land fires in Rupat Island.

The soldiers will join the province`s forest and land fire control task force in combating forest and land fires on the island, the Wira Bima military resort command said in a press statement.

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Best of our wild blogs: 24 Feb 19

Albatrosses of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

Long Walk To Windsor Nature Park (22 Feb 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Black water at Chek Jawa
wild shores of singapore

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Crocodile caught at Lower Seletar Reservoir, water activities remain suspended

Channel NewsAsia 23 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: A crocodile that was spotted at Lower Seletar Reservoir last week has been caught, said national water agency PUB on Saturday (Feb 23).

The reptile was first spotted by a PUB contractor on Feb 14, prompting a suspension of all water and fishing activities there.

Authorities managed to trap it at the reservoir at about 3am on Saturday.

The reptile, an estuarine crocodile, is about 1.7m long. “It has been translocated into the wild,” said PUB.

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Indonesia: Land fires in Riau arose far from settlement - BRG

Antara 23 Feb 19;

Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) Chief Nazir Foead. (ANTARA News/Virna P Setyorini)

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The land and forest fire in Riau Province occurred in areas far from the settlement and farmers` plantation, according to the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG).

"Peatland areas engulfed by the fire are those on which rewetting was yet to be carried out," BRG Chief Nazir Foead told Antara here on Saturday.

The agency`s peatland restoration program, conducted since 2016 in the province, has involved the local government and public.

Foead affirmed that rewetting of peat soil was prioritized in locations close to settlements and plantations, as they have limited sources to cover all peatland regions.

"Usually, people choose peatland areas that are close to settlement and plantation areas. Hence, their houses, schools, and plantations would remain safe in case fire engulfed the peatland area," he explained.

According to data of Riau University, the province has 4.8 million hectares of peatland area, or some 51.06 percent of Riau`s total area.

"We know that more than half of Riau Province is peatland area. Peatland clearing has occurred for years, and the damage was quite extensive. A long time would be needed to restore the land," he remarked.

In 2019, fire engulfed more than 850 hectares of land in Riau. The largest fire was detected in Rupat Island of Bengkalis District, and efforts to extinguish the fire are still ongoing.

Related News: Fires burn 124.5 hectares of land in Riau since early January

Related News: Forest, land fires spread to 633 hectares in Riau

Reporting by Anggi Romadhoni

Editing by Sri Haryati
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani

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Best of our wild blogs: 23 Feb 19

Lush seagrass meadows at East Coast Park
wild shores of singapore

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Malaysia: Tougher laws fail to deter pangolin poachers

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 23 Feb 19;

SABAH has prosecuted 23 cases related to pangolins since 2002, said state Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga.

Five cases were from Keningau, four in Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan (three in each district), Papar and Kinabatangan (two in each district), and one each in Sipitang, Telupid, Beaufort and Luyang.

In recent years, an amendment was made to the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, in which the world’s most trafficked animal had been upgraded as a “totally protected species”.

Those found hunting, consuming, possessing or selling pangolins or their parts could face a minimum fine of RM50,000 and a maximum fine of RM250,000 or a minimum prison term of one year and up to a maximum term of five years or both.

“Some of the cases were prosecuted under the new amendment, where heavier penalties were handed down to offenders and some are still serving their sentence.

“However, crimes against pangolins continue despite the state Wildlife Department trying its best to combat illegal poaching,” he said, adding there was a need for public cooperation in preventing pangolins from being poached and becoming extinct.

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Malaysia: Hobbyists should not dump alien fish in rivers

ROSLI ZAKARIA New Straits Times 22 Feb 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The damage is done. The invasion of the Mekong red tail catfish in Malaysian rivers is irreversible. Only time will tell the fate of the indigenous fish species.

Researchers are worried that the repeated mass spawning of the red tail catfish, also known as the Asian red tail catfish, means a nearly 100 per cent fry survival rate. And in a few years, this species could occupy every available space in the rivers.

“Rivers in Malaysia are not long or wide like the Chao Phraya River or Mekong River, where the red tail catfish originates.

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Malaysia: Unabated land clearing, mining mar Tasik Chini environment

AMIN RIDZUAN ISHAK New Straits Times 23 Feb 19;

PEKAN: At least two illegal mines operating without adhering to specifications and affecting the environment have been found near Tasik Chini near here.

The mines are located on a construction site and by the lakeside facing the Tasik Chini Research Centre.

A source said checks revealed that the sites did not have mining permits, but the miners were merely taking advantage of mining activities on licensed sites.

“However, they have not been operating over the past few days when the authorities were doing inspections,” he said yesterday.

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Indonesia: Smoke forces suspension of school activities in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 22 Feb 19;

Smoke believed to be coming from wildfire forced six elementary schools in Dumai in the province of Riau to close early on Thursday.

Dumai Health Agency head Faisal said health concerns had pushed his team to stop school activities earlier than usual after thousands of residents in Dumai had become sick from the polluted air.

The affected schools include state elementary schools SDN 13, SDN 14, SDN 17 Buluh Kasap and SDN 5 Karang Anyer.

“This morning, [the smoke] was indeed thick, which is why many students were sent home,” Faisal said on Thursday.

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Indonesia: Fifty tons of marine debris picked up from Wakatobi

Antara 22 Feb 19;

Marine police personnel collected marine waste in the commemoration of the National Waste Care Day. (Doc.ANTARA PHOTO/AHMAD_SUBAIDI)

Kendari, SE Sulawesi, (ANTARA News) - The local government and community members in Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, commemorated National Waste Care Day by picking up some 50 tons of marine debris, a local government official stated.

The marine debris was collected from various coastal areas in the marine national park of Wakatobi, including the sub-districts of Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko, Head of Wakatobi District's Environment Office Jemuna stated here on Friday.

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Best of our wild blogs: 22 Feb 19

March School Holiday Events!
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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Wolbachia mosquitoes released in expanded Nee Soon, Tampines sites in next phase of study

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 22 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: Male Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes have been released in expanded sites in Nee Soon and Tampines, under the next phase of a study to reduce the Aedes mosquito population and fight dengue.

The third phase of the National Environment Agency's (NEA) Project Wolbachia kicked off on Friday (Feb 22), with the mosquitoes released at Nee Soon East and Tampines West sites that are 1.6 to 2.2 times larger compared to the trial area in phase two.

These male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacterium do not bite or transmit diseases. If they mate with an uninfected female mosquito, the resulting eggs will not hatch.

The purpose of expanding the sites is to determine if suppression of the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population can be sustained in larger areas, said NEA.

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Malaysia: Johor govt to ensure enough water supply despite falling dam levels

remar nordin The Star 21 Feb 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state government is working closely with water operator Ranhill SAJ Sdn Bhd and the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) to monitor the water supply situation here.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse (pic) said despite the long dry spell and falling levels at four dams, the government will ensure there is enough water supply in the state.

The four dams affected by the hot weather are Sungai Lebam, Upper Layang, Sembrong Barat and Lok Heng.

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UN: Growing threat to food from decline in biodiversity

Matt McGrath BBC 22 Feb 19;

The plants, animals, crops and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline, according to a UN study.

If these critical species are lost, the report says, it "places the future of our food system under severe threat".

The study says that land use changes, pollution, and climate change are all causing biodiversity loss.

While species friendly policies are increasing, they are not growing quickly enough, the scientists say.

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Best of our wild blogs: 21 Feb 19

Pulau Semakau (East) is alive!
wild shores of singapore

Fri 1st Mar 2019 “The Hunt for Wallace’s specimens” @ NUS Central Library
The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

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Indonesian Forest Fires Highlight President's Campaign Gaffe

Associated Press 19 Feb 19;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Deliberately set fires are burning through peatland forests in the Indonesian province of Riau, the disaster agency said Tuesday, just two days after President Joko Widodo incorrectly claimed there'd been no fires for several years.

The agency said that 843 hectares of land have burned in Riau since the beginning of the year and that fire-fighting teams are currently battling blazes in several locations.

"Conditions are expected to become more dry so the potential for fires increases," it said in a statement.

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Indonesia: Fourteen herds of elephants in search of food in Aceh

Rahmad Nasution Antara 20 Feb 19;

Lhokseumawe, N Aceh, (ANTARA News)- At least 14 herds of wild Sumatran elephants have been wandering in search of food in the areas of districts such as Tamiang, Pidie, Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Biruen, a conservationist said.

According to the Head of the Lhokseumawe Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Dedi Irvansyah, here on Tuesday evening, around four up to five herds were found wandering around the forest areas of East Aceh and Tamiang Districts.

In North Aceh District, there were three herds of these herbivorous animals, while in the districts of Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Bireun, about four herds of wild elephants were also observed, he stated.

Meanwhile, in Pidie Jaya and Pidie Districts, two herds were reportedly observed, he noted, adding that each of the herds consisted of 15 to 20 wild animals.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 Feb 19

Get plushie Snapping shrimps and Shrimp gobies!
wild shores of singapore

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Wild boar spotted again in Choa Chu Kang

Choo Yun Ting Straits Times 19 Feb 19;

A wild boar was spotted roaming near Housing Board flats in Choa Chu Kang yesterday.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal told The Straits Times that the wild boar had been spotted in the area in recent months.

Yesterday, it was seen near Block 544 Choa Chu Kang Street 52 around 7.30am.

Members of the public were seen keeping their distance from the animal.

Ms Anbarasi said that when Acres staff previously visited the area where the wild boar was spotted, they found that people had left food out in the open for animals.

She also said that "trash management is improper" in the area. "It really boils down to the food available in the area," Ms Anbarasi said, adding that it was a key reason for the repeated wild boar sightings.

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3 land parcels awarded under new tender mode

Price evaluated only after quality of bids assessed; plots awarded for agriculture
Toh Ting Wei Straits Times 19 Feb 19;

Three land parcels have been awarded for agriculture on 20-year leases at Sungei Tengah near Choa Chu Kang through a new tender process, which first looks at quality, then price.

Applicants were first assessed on their production capability, production track record, relevant qualifications and innovation and sustainability under the new Concept and Price tender method. Those who passed were then evaluated on price, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said yesterday.

These companies submitted proposals that incorporated productive and innovative farming systems, such as a recirculating aquaculture system for shrimp farming with auto loaders and feeders and sensors to monitor water quality, and a climate-controlled greenhouse with automatic conveyor belts for growing ornamental aquatic plants.

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Singapore Budget 2019: New aquaculture centre to work on improving Singapore's food resilience

Cheryl Teh Straits Times 18 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - More is being done to transform the food production process, and make Singapore's food supplies more secure.

“In the digital age, we still need food, not just bits and bytes,” Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech on Monday (Jan 18), adding that the agriculture and food production sectors are transforming to meet this need.

A new Centre of Innovation in Aquaculture at Temasek Polytechnic will work on promoting aquaculture (high-tech marine farming) and will be funded to find ways to improve Singapore’s food resilience, said Mr Heng.

He cited the example of St John’s sea bass, a fish breed developed by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Marine Aquaculture Centre and its collaboration with the Temasek Life Sciences laboratory, a beneficiary of Temasek Trust.

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Budget 2019: Total infrastructure bill to rise as Singapore fights climate change and rising sea levels

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 18 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — The Government will be investing more “to protect Singapore against climate change and rising sea levels”, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said, stressing the urgency for Singapore to plan for climate change beyond the next decade.

“Together with existing infrastructure needs, our total bill for infrastructure will increase significantly,” he said during his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 18).

While it is “very difficult” to project spending needs “way into the future”, Mr Heng said that the different government ministries have done some preliminary estimates.

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Indonesia: Wild elephants ravage coconut plantation in Pekanbaru

Antara 18 Feb 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - A herd of wild Sumatran elephants (elephas maximus sumatranus) ravaged a coconut plantation in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, on Monday morning.

"Some 13 elephants entered the plantation," Mangido Nababan, owner of the plantation, informed Antara, here, Monday.

The elephants were first spotted by local residents on Saturday evening (Feb 16), and they later entered Nababan`s plantation.

Hundreds of seedlings and some 20 four-year-old coconut trees were eaten and damaged by the elephants.

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Best of our wild blogs: 18 Feb 19

Assorted Nectaring Plants - Part 2
Butterflies of Singapore

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Malaysia: Nicky, the friendly dugong

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 18 Feb 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Nowadays, one needs luck to spot dugongs in the wild, let alone play and swim with them. Their sightings are rarely, if at all, reported.

But two years ago, a group of tourists had Lady Luck on their side when they came across a dugong swimming beside their boat.

The tourists, who were guests of the Try Scuba Sdn Bhd dive company, were headed towards Pulau Kalampunian Damit and Pulau Besar Kalampunian when the dugong made a surprise appearance.

“I’ve not seen a dugong for a long time after my first encounter with one at Pulau Mantanani between 2005 and 2007. So, to see it after over 10 years and in an area you least expect it, is remarkable,” said company owner Rudy Mattahari, 51.

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Indonesia: 'The case is irregular' - Company speaks up in Lake Toba dead fish incident

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 17 Feb 19;

Fish breeder PT Aquafarm Nusantara has begun an independent investigation into a pollution case in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, following a reprimand from the local administration, which has accused the company of the violation.

The North Sumatra administration has issued a warning to the country’s largest tilapia breeder after the recent finding of sacks of dead fish in waters near one of the company’s warehouses.

The company has denied involvement in the case and expressed its commitment to finding the perpetrators.

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Indonesian presidential hopefuls vow energy self-sufficiency through palm

Reuters Yahoo News 18 Feb 19;

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's two presidential candidates pledged on Sunday to achieve energy self-sufficiency by boosting the use of bioenergy, particularly fueled by palm oil, to cut costly oil imports by Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has been pushing for all diesel fuel used in the country to contain biodiesel to boost palm consumption, slash fuel imports, and narrow a yawning current account gap.

In a televised election debate, President Joko Widodo said if he won a second term the government planned to implement a B100 program, referring to fuel made entirely from palm oil, after last year making it mandatory to use biodiesel containing 20 percent bio-content (B20).

"We hope 30 percent of total palm production will go to biofuel. The plan is clear, so we will not rely on imported oil," Widodo said, adding that Indonesia's crude palm oil production had reached 46 million tonnes a year.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 17 Feb 19

Nudibranchs and Natural Values
Hantu Blog

Our Cool and Amazing Forest – Love MacRitchie Walk (Feb 2019)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Afternoon Walk At Windsor Nature Park (16 Feb 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Finding Samurai
BES Drongos

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Burning smell in north-east Singapore likely related to fire at landfill in Pasir Gudang: NEA

Timothy Goh Straits Times 17 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - A burning smell in north-east Singapore is likely related to a fire at the Tanjong Langsat landfill in Pasir Gudang, Johor, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The agency told The Straits Times on Sunday (Feb 17) that it had received nine feedback cases on the smell between Friday evening and 11pm on Saturday. Eight of them were received after 6pm on Saturday.

Several netizens living in Yishun, Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang, and Hougang also reported a "smoky" or "smoggy" smell on social media.

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NEA launches year-long battle against food wastage

Fabian Koh Straits Times 16 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - With food waste among the five largest sources of waste in Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) hopes to get people to adopt three habits when eating out so as to combat wastage.

The year-long drive, part of the Year Towards Zero Waste campaign, was launched by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor at Yishun Park Hawker Centre on Saturday (Feb 16).

It encourages people to order only what they can finish; ask for less rice or noodles if they are unable to eat that much; and say "no" to side dishes they will not consume.

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Malaysia: 15 sheep deaths blamed on tiger

Nur Aqidah Azizi, Abnor Hamizam Abd Manap New Straits Times 16 Feb 19;

JELEBU: Fifteen sheep have been found dead at Kampung Geylang Pertang, here. It believed that they were attacked by a tiger last night.

Pertang state assembly coordinator Azmi Abd Rahman said the incident was reported by the owner, who found the carcasses this morning.

“The owner was shocked to find the sheep were dead when he wanted to feed them this morning at 8am,” he said.

“The sheep were found with their guts ripped out.

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Indonesia land-burning fines unpaid years after fires

STEPHEN WRIGHT Associated Press 15 Feb 19;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian plantation companies fined for burning huge areas of land since 2009 have failed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties meant to hold them accountable for actions that took a devastating environmental and human toll.

The 10 palm oil and pulp wood companies involved in fires owe more than $220 million in fines and the figure for unpaid penalties for environmental destruction swells to $1.3 billion when an illegal logging case from 2013 is included, according to separate summaries of the cases compiled by Greenpeace and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

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Fears flood water runoff could 'smother' Barrier Reef

AFP 15 Feb 19;

Runoff from recent floods in northern Australia is flowing onto parts of the Barrier Reef, scientists said Friday, starving coral of light and providing fodder for the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish.

Parts of northern Queensland are still reeling after nearly two weeks of unprecedented rainfall that turned roads into rivers and inundated hundreds of homes with floodwater.

Scientists at James Cook University say the floods swelled a number of rivers along hundreds of kilometres of coastline, spilling sediment onto the reef which has reduced water quality and much-needed sunlight.

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Best of our wild blogs: 15 Feb 19

Birdwatching with Civetgirl @ Pasir Ris Park: smooth-coated otters, grey herons, fragrant Tembusu and spotted wood owls

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Dominica-flagged vessel sinks in Singapore’s waters near Pedra Branca

A supply vessel was travelling along the Singapore Strait when it capsized at around 7.15am on Feb 14, 2019, about 3 nautical miles from Pedra Branca.
TODAY Online 14 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — A Dominica-flagged supply vessel sank in Singapore’s waters early on Thursday (Feb 14), making it the second maritime incident in a week.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a press release that the vessel, Ocean Cooper 2, was travelling along the Singapore Strait when it capsized at around 7.15am, about 3 nautical miles from Pedra Branca.

Map showing the location where Ocean Cooper 2 capsized. Photo: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

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Crocodile spotted at Lower Seletar Reservoir, water activities suspended

Channel NewsAsia 14 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: All water and fishing activities at Lower Seletar Reservoir have been suspended until further notice after a crocodile was spotted in the area on Thursday (Feb 14).

A PUB contractor spotted the reptile in the morning, said the national water agency in a Facebook post, adding that it will be working with National Parks Board to capture the crocodile.

"For public safety, all water activities and fishing activities at Lower Seletar Reservoir have been suspended until further notice," said PUB.

"The public is advised to be alert and avoid going near the reservoir water edge."

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Tasmania fires may 'wipe out' ancient species

AFP Yahoo News 15 Feb 19;

Hobart (Australia) (AFP) - Tasmania's ancient rainforest and alpine flora species face an uncertain future, scientists have warned, after out-of-control bushfires consumed vast tracts of wild bushland.

As authorities downgraded emergency warnings Friday, with wetter weather -- and even some snow -- bringing respite from more than a month of rolling fires, scientists warned they are still assessing the damage to the island's unique environment.

Wildfires have scorched over 205,000 hectares (500,000 acres) in the southwest, centre and northwest of the island -- fuelled, scientists believe, by climate change.

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El Nino is back but it's late, weak and probably no big deal

SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Yahoo News 15 Feb 19;

WASHINGTON (AP) — An El Nino, which can alter weather worldwide, has formed but it's so weak and late that it shouldn't be a big deal, U.S. forecasters said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that the climate feature formed in the central Pacific, but forecasters don't expect it to last more than three or four months.

An El Nino is a natural warming of the ocean that once it interacts with the atmosphere often warms up the globe and changes rainfall and temperature patterns, making some places wetter and some places drier.

When there is an El Nino, there are generally fewer and weaker hurricanes in the Atlantic, but this one might not make it to summer and have any effect on the next storm season, said Mike Halpert, deputy director for the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

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Malaysia: Poaching is the biggest threat Malaysia’s tigers face

SIM LEOI LEOI The Star 13 Feb 19;

Tiger numbers in all 13 tiger range countries in the world fell steadily for decades – until 2012.

In 1970, tigers numbered some 40,000 around the world; the number then plummeted to about 3,200 in the 2010s and three subspecies – the Balinese, Caspian and Javan tigers – became extinct.

However, in 2012, Bengal tigers in Nepal and India increased in number, adding to an estimation of some 3,900 animals globally.

“India has managed to increase its numbers. Because India has in place very, very strict and good measures,” says Norizan Mohd Mazlan, WWF- Malaysia’s Head of Conservation for Peninsular Malaysia (Terrestrial Conservation).

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Indonesia: Protected birds allegedly traded freely in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 14 Feb 19;

Forest rangers of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA) have rescued 32 purple herons in two locations on Monday and Tuesday.

The protected birds – locally known as cangak merah – were seized from locals who were trading them on sidewalks. Fourteen of the birds were seized on Tuesday on a section of Jl. Lintas Pekanbaru.

Forest rangers Putrapper and M. Hendri spotted the birds while heading to the Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling Wildlife Reserve on the border of the regencies Kampar and Kuantan Singingi.

“They found out that the birds were allegedly being sold by a youth named Dani from Kampung Pinang subdistrict, Perhentian Raja district, Kampar," Riau BBKSDA spokesperson Dian Indriati said on Wednesday.

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Indonesia: Jokowi saves forests, but fails to resolve land, mining conflicts

The Jakarta Post 13 Feb 19;

While praised for its progressive efforts in preserving forests and stopping forest fires, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration still faces criticism for doing less in preventing the harmful practices of mining.

Environment watchdog Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said Jokowi’s efforts in protecting the environment in the last four years had been “half-hearted”.

“It is true that there has been some progress if compared to previous administrations. However, he is still not serious about implementing the point that he stressed in his Nawacita, particularly related to the citizens’ rights to safety and land ownership,” Walhi research and policy manager Boy Jerry Even Sembiring told The Jakarta Post.

He was referring to the nine-point development plan introduced by Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla during their election campaign in 2014.

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Best of our wild blogs: 13 Feb 19

23 Feb (Sat) - Free guided walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

3 March: World Wildlife Day 2019 focusing on marine species for the first time
wild shores of singapore

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NParks to become lead agency for animal and wildlife management

Fann Sim Channel NewsAsia 12 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: From Apr 1, all matters to do with wildlife, as well as non-food plants and animals, will be under the purview of the National Parks Board (NParks).

This comes after the Amendment Bill to transfer non-food plant and animal-related functions from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to NParks was passed on Tuesday (Feb 12).

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Singapore Food Agency to focus on food safety and security: Masagos

ALFRED CHUA Today Online 13 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — Food safety and security are critical to Singapore, particularly as the country relies heavily on food imports, which can be affected by climate change and food crises.

That is why the two issues will be the focus of a new statutory board, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

“Food security is fundamental for our national security. We have worked hard to ensure Singapore’s food safety and security over the decades,” said Mr Masagos during the second reading of the Singapore Food Agency Bill in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 12).

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Indonesia: Beached whale shark dies on Sukabumi coast

The Jakarta Post 12 Feb 19;

A whale shark was found dead on Tuesday by locals and fishermen near the dock of a fishing port in Palabuhanratu, Sukabumi regency, West Java.

“I used to run into these [sharks] in the sea, and they had never disrupted our work. However, this time, we found one of them stranded on the dock,” an unnamed fisherman, who claimed to have discovered the beached shark first, said on Tuesday as quoted by Antara.

The stranded shark, known for its distinct white spots and stripes, weighed around 300 kilograms and was around 2 meters-long.

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Pangolins: Rare insight into world's most trafficked mammal

Helen Briggs BBC News 13 Feb 19;

The secret life of the world's most trafficked mammal, the pangolin, has been caught on camera in Africa.

Footage gives a rare insight into the behaviour of the giant pangolin, the largest of all the scaly animals.

Observed by remote-operated cameras, a baby take a ride on its mother's back, while an adult climbs a tree.

Scientists are releasing the footage to highlight the plight of the animals, which are being pushed to extinction by illegal hunting for scales and meat.

Large numbers of their scales have been seized this month alone, including Malaysia's biggest-ever interception of smuggled pangolin products.

Read more!

Why recycling, less single-use plastics are not the answers to our plastic scourge

Getting rid of straws and other single-use plastics, recycling and reducing our consumerism are noble efforts but a fundamental redesign of our global value chains is needed to tackle plastic waste, says the University of Denver’s Jack Buffington.
Jack Buffington Channel NewsAsia 13 Feb 19;

DENVER, Colorado: Plastic is everywhere, even in the most remote places on earth such as the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean in the Mariana Trench, to the highest peak of Mount Everest.

But no place has been as negatively impacted by plastic waste as the fastest growing nations of Asia, where the United Nations has hailed the growing situation over plastic waste a “planetary crisis”.


Peak Plastic describes the point in time when the benefit of the next piece of plastic provides is outweighed by its irreversible damage to the environment, a timeline that will happen in the next eleven years.

Peak Plastic will occur in some places much sooner according to some studies, in the developing communities of China, Indonesia and Philippines where the production of plastic waste are already at a crisis level.

Worldwide, plastic production and use is growing at a 10 per cent rate, but in the developing regions of Asia, it is growing much faster than the existing waste management infrastructure can handle, leading to a large majority of the 9 million tonnes a year of plastic that is dumped into our oceans every year.

By 2050, it is possible that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, a scenario that seems almost impossible to believe given 71 per cent of the earth is covered by oceans.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 12 Feb 19

9 Mar (Sat): Easy nature guiding - a FREE workshop
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

16 Mar (Sat): R.U.M. joins Celebrating Singapore Shores at Berlayar Creek
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

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Parliament: Environment studies to be made public unless there are security concerns

Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 12 Feb 19;

The authorities intend to make public the findings of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) unless there are specific reasons - like security considerations - to keep them confidential, said Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee yesterday.

This is the first time security considerations have been cited as a factor for withholding the results of environmental studies.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) had asked if the authorities would consider making EIAs mandatory for all construction works near national parks or nature reserves, as well as publicly available.

Mr Lee's response comes in the wake of disputes over the Housing Board's conclusion in a report that forests in Tengah, which is near a military training ground, were of "low conservation significance".

But ecologists consider the forests there an important vegetation node that allows wildlife to move from the Western Catchment to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

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Parliament: Cross Island Line extension from Pasir Ris to Punggol being studied

Zhaki Abdullah Straits Times 11 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority is still studying whether the future Cross Island Line (CRL) can be extended from Pasir Ris to Punggol.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday (Feb 11) said in a written parliamentary reply that engineering studies are ongoing for this proposed stretch of the CRL MRT line.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), had asked if the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) could be extended to connect to Pasir Ris and Punggol, to provide greater connectivity for residents in these areas.

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Toxic bacteria found on small pieces of plastic trash from Singapore beaches

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 11 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — The small pieces of plastic trash on Singapore's shores are a hotbed for bacteria, some of which are toxic to humans, a study has found.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) discovered more than 400 types of bacteria on 275 pieces of microplastics collected from the beaches of Changi, Sembawang and Lazarus Island between April and July last year.

The bacteria include those associated with coral bleaching (Photobacterium rosenbergii) and those that cause wound infection (Vibrio) or gastroenteritis in humans (Arcobacter).


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Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Exclusive: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review
Damian Carrington The Guardian 10 Feb 19;

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

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Environment in multiple crises - report

Roger Harrabin BBC 12 Feb 19;

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are "driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

"This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years."

So what is needed?

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 11 Feb 19

16 Mar (Sat): Celebrating Singapore Shores at Berlayar Creek
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Building a green Singapore

Derek Wong Straits Times 11 Feb 19;

In the concrete jungle of the Central Business District, a red flower-like structure stands out against the skyline.

Called a wind scoop, it perches atop the 40-storey CapitaGreen and its "petals" draw in cooler, cleaner air that is funnelled through the building's air-conditioning system, helping to save energy on cooling.

It is among the energy-saving features introduced in buildings in recent years, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) aiming for 80 per cent of buildings in Singapore to be green by 2030.

Cooling systems are a big drain on power, taking up 40 per cent to 50 per cent of a building's energy consumption. Together with other energy-saving features, such as a double-skin facade to reduce heat gain, the wind scoop helps CapitaGreen generate monthly savings of about 580,000kwh - equivalent to the energy needed to power about 1,500 four-room Housing Board flats in a month.

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Running with reusable cups to reduce waste

NEO RONG WEI Today Online 10 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — Last year, more than 2,000 runners gave up their right to claim a finisher tee or medal at the end of the Eco Run.

This year, participants who signed up as “Zero Waste runners” in the annual event will be asked to go one step further for the environment: They will have to use reusable cups.

Income, the insurance company that organises the Eco Run, recognises that it will be a challenge for the runners.

“They will need to stop to fill up the cup, then run again. It is difficult to make the sacrifice (to their run times),” Ms Stella Tan, 45, Income’s head of brand activation and events, said.

The running event used up to 45,000 plastic cups for its hydration stations last year.

For the upcoming race in April, organisers aim to halve this number, which they said would result in a reduction of about 60kg of plastic waste.

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Drink from the tap: Students on a mission to cut bottled-water consumption

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 10 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — For nearly a decade, Ms Erny Kartolo’s mother bought bottled water in bulk for her family, so that they would be hydrated when they ventured out of their home.

Every month, she would stock up on a box holding 40 bottles of water from suppliers such as Dasani.

“Her reason is that if she doesn’t purchase these, my family wouldn’t bring out water,” said Ms Kartolo, 22, a final-year communication studies undergraduate at the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

That routine has since changed and her mother has jettisoned the practice, thanks to the Drink Wise, Drink Tap campaign.

The movement — the brainchild of Ms Kartolo and three schoolmates from the same NTU course — aims to nudge Singaporeans to drink tap water instead of bottled water, so as to reduce plastic waste in the long haul.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 10 Feb 19

Butterfly of the Month - February 2019
Butterflies of Singapore

Recce Trip to Lentor Avenue (08 Feb 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Malaysia vessel Polaris, Greece-registered ship collide in Singapore waters: MPA

Channel NewsAsia 9 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: Malaysian buoy-laying vessel Polaris and a Greece-registered ship collided in Singapore waters on Saturday (Feb 9), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said.

Polaris and bulk carrier Piraeus collided at 2.28pm on Saturday within Singapore port limits off Tuas, MPA said in a statement.

The Greek vessel was on its way from Singapore to its next port of call at Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia when the collision took place.

"MPA is deeply concerned that the presence of unauthorised vessels in Singapore port limits can cause confusion for the international shipping community and threaten navigational safety in our waters," it said.

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Smoky smell in Singapore's east caused by Johor landfill fire, says NEA

Channel NewsAsia 9 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: A smoky smell that has lingered in the air around the eastern part of Singapore was caused by a fire at a Johor landfill, Singapore’s environment authority said on Saturday (Feb 9).

The fire at a landfill at Bandar Tenggara, southeastern Johor, has been burning since Tuesday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

“Malaysian authorities have been working around the clock to stop the burning,” an NEA spokesperson said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.

Residents in the eastern part of Singapore have reported a smoky smell in the air since early Friday morning, with some speculating on social media whether it was caused by haze blowing in from other countries.

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Malaysia: Local pangolin smuggling syndicate busted

Junaidi Ladjana, Recqueal Raimi New Straits Times 9 Feb 19;

TUARAN: Sabah police and wildlife enforcement team have uncovered a local pangolin smuggling syndicate which has been operating for seven years in Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran districts.

The syndicate was also involved in the processing of meats and skins of the fully protected animal.

Two days ago, police and enforcement team from the Sabah Wildlife Department raided a factory at Jalan Sepanggar, Kota Kiabalu, and a warehouse in Kampung Bontoi, Jalan Tamparuli, here, and seized live pangolins, frozen pangolins, pangolin scales and meat worth RM8.4 million.

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Malaysia: Green turtle found dead at Pohon Batu beach; cause of death unknown

Bernama New Straits Times 9 Feb 19;

LABUAN: A green sea turtle was found dead at Pohon Batu beach here, with portions of its intestines allegedly taken out from its abdomen.

The most endangered and threatened species of the sea turtle was found by a villager at Kg Pohon Batu on Friday morning and it was subsequently reported to the Fisheries Department at 2.15pm the same day.

The discovery came as a shock to the Labuan Marine Park, turtle conservationists and villagers, who urged for a thorough investigation to be carried out on any elements of illegal hunting of sea turtles for eggs and meat.

Labuan Fisheries Department director Faizal Suhaili Ibrahim told Bernama that based on a preliminary investigation, there seemed to be no ‘foul play’ in the turtle’s death, but assured that thorough investigation would be conducted.

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Asia's palm oil industry braces for backlash at home

Environmental concerns no longer an issue only in Western markets
SARAH HILTON and ERI SUGIURA, Nikkei 9 Feb 19;

A worker collects fruit at a palm plantation in Malaysia, one of the world's biggest producers of palm oil. (Getty Images)
TOKYO -- Signs that a consumer backlash against palm oil is spreading to Asia has prompted companies in the region to take action, from pledging to adopt sustainable sourcing to joining international certification standards.

One of Japan's largest supermarket chains Aeon has pledged to source only sustainable palm oil for its private brand by 2020, while Chinese membership in one of the world's most stringent certification regimes has soared in the last five years.

These moves come amid an ongoing spat between Malaysia and the European Union over imports of palm oil for use in bio fuels. The environmental impact of palm oil -- which is used in consumers goods ranging from toothpaste to snacks to cosmetics -- has long been a hot-button issue in the West, where it has sparked calls for boycott and other action against the industry.

A similar backlash in Asia could hit palm oil growers and consumer goods companies even harder given the scale of the market. While the EU consumes around 10% of the world's palm oil, the top four Asian markets -- India, Indonesia, China and Malaysia -- accounted for nearly 43% of consumption by volume in 2017.

Malaysia and Indonesia maybe have the most to lose if Asia sours on the commodity -- the two together account for 85% of global output.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 9 Feb 19

Crocodiles Uncovered: Read this if you have a fear of reptiles
BES Drongos

Register now for the 2019 Biodiversity Challenge!
Biodiversity Friends Forum

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In land-scarce Southeast Asia, solar panels float on water

Rina Chandran Reuters 8 Feb 19;

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Solar power companies in Southeast Asian that are competing for land with agriculture, industry and expanding populations have found an innovative alternative: placing floating panels in lakes, dams, reservoirs and the sea.

Earlier this week, the state utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said it will submit a proposal for a 45-megawatt floating solar plant in the Sirindhorn dam in the country’s northeast.

EGAT plans to invest in about 16 such projects across nine dams in the country, deputy governor Thepparat Theppitak told reporters.

Elsewhere in the region, Singapore is developing one of the world’s largest offshore floating solar systems in the Strait of Johor to the north of the island.

Read more!

Malaysia: Whale shark starved to death after consuming plastic bag, says Sabah Wildlife Dept

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 8 Feb 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A dead whale shark that washed ashore at Menumbok beach in Kuala Penyu district, about 155 kilometres away from here, was believed to have starved to death after consuming a large plastic bag.

The carcass of the male juvenile whale shark was found on Feb 5, by a teacher who happened to be jogging along nearby Tanjung Aru beach.

Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit was alerted and rushed to the scene to conduct necropsy. The team was shocked to find a plastic bag, measuring 46cm in length and 32cm in width, inside the shark's stomach.

Read more!

Malaysia: Firefighters use water bombing against raging Gunung Baling Fire

Bernama New Straits Times 8 Feb 19;

ALOR STAR: Firefighters are conducting water bombing to put out a raging fire on Gunung Baling.

A Mi-17 helicopter is being used to conduct the water bombing to put out the fire which started on Wednesday evening and has spread across 2.8 hectares, Baling Fire and Rescue Station chief Mohd Jamil Mat Daud said today.

He said that since the firefighting operation resumed at 8am today, seven to eight instances of water bombing had been completed.

“The weather this morning is fine. It is feared that it will become hot in the afternoon. We are attempting to use the water bombing method to put out three more large spots of fires,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Read more!

Indonesia dam burst raises alarm over unchecked forest clearing

Ian Morse Reuters 8 Feb 19;

MAKASSAR, Indonesia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In the Indonesian city of Makassar, where the rainy season often brings floods, Hasriani didn’t worry when a day-long downpour last month saw water rise to her knees by the time she had picked up her children from school for afternoon prayers.

But within an hour, the water level had climbed above her head, threatening to drown her family inside their home, already built a meter (3 ft) off the ground.

“It wasn’t caused by the rain - it was Bili-Bili!” said Hasriani, 30, referring to a dam completed in 1998 in order to prevent flooding, located 9 miles (14.5 km) away.

In late January, the dam overflowed, unleashing run-off from the mountains that swamped thousands of homes close to the city.

Disaster officials were shocked that one intense bout of rain could cause the dam to fail. But the provincial governor and environmental experts believe it could have been predicted.

Earth shaken loose by years of forest-felling in the mountains above the city had been washed down into the dam’s reservoir, they said, silting it up and displacing water.

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Australia: 'Hundreds of thousands' of cattle feared dead after floods

AFP Yahoo News 9 Feb 19;

Townsville (Australia) (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of cattle weakened from a severe drought are feared to have died in record-breaking floods in northeastern Australia, authorities said Friday, as they stepped up efforts to feed surviving livestock.

Incessant rains over an almost two-week period have flooded swathes of Queensland state, with the full scale of the devastation on drought-hit cattle stations becoming clearer as floodwaters recede.

"We are expecting hundreds of thousands in terms of stock losses," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

"This will be heartbreaking to these communities that have been experiencing years of drought, only to see that turn into a torrential inundation which threatens now their very livelihoods in the complete other direction."

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 8 Feb 19

10 Feb: Registration opens for Sisters Islands Intertidal walks in Mar 2019
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Burning smell reported over several parts of eastern Singapore including Tampines, Bedok

Tee Zhuo Straits Times 8 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - A strong burning smell has been reported over several parts of eastern Singapore on Friday morning (Feb 8), including Tampines, Bedok and Pasir Ris.

Mr Jon Lee, 45, who lives in Tampines, likened the smell to the haze or offerings being burnt during the Chinese seventh month.

"I was taking my son to school on the way to work at around 6am, and there was a strong burning smell. At 7am, when I dropped my son off in the East Coast area, it was still there," said Mr Lee, who works in sales.

He told The Straits Times that there was no burning smell when he reached his workplace in the west. He added that his colleague who lives in Bedok also described a similar burning smell.

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Malaysia: Introduced fish disrupts water, habitat quality of river

The fish had the potential to weaken the river- bank structure caused by their burrowing habit during spawning season.
Esther Landau New Straits Times 7 Feb 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The presence of Amazon Sailfin Catfish or ‘Ikan Bandaraya’ could threaten the native fish species and affect water and habitat quality of the Malaysian rivers and lakes, said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) School of Environmental and Natural Resources Sciences senior lecturer Dr Abdullah Samat.

Besides that, the fish had the potential to weaken the river- bank structure caused by their burrowing habit during spawning season, he added.

“This kind of fish does disrupt our aquatic ecosystem.”

The fish, from the South American continent, is imported as a ‘janitor’ fish for the aquariums and once they have outlived their purpose or gets too big, it’s thrown away.

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Indonesia: 'Future proofing' forests to protect orangutans

Helen Briggs, BBC News 7 Feb 19

A study has identified key tree species that are resilient to climate change and support critically endangered apes.

Planting them could help future proof rainforests, which are a key habitat for orangutans, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN.

Researchers surveyed 250 plants in Indonesia's Kutai National Park.

Over 1,000 orangutans are thought to inhabit the park, as well as other rare animals such as the Malayan sun bear.

"Selecting which species to plant is a significant contribution to restoring the health of this ecosystem," said study co-author Douglas Sheil.

"Of course, the reasons why forest cover was lost in the first place must also be addressed for reforestation efforts to succeed."

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Best of our wild blogs: 7 Feb 19

Pasir Ris shores are alive!
wild shores of singapore

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If we leave it to our kids to fix the planet, it may be too late

KIM STENGERT Today Online 6 Feb 19;

The other day, sipping on my strawless kopi-o peng at Orchard Road I witnessed an army of National Environment Agency volunteers in white polo shirts walking down the street, checking for errant smokers outside of smoking areas marked by orange lines.

It is clear that when it comes to public health, the laws here are strict, and for good reason.

Globally, seven million deaths a year are linked to tobacco, and 1.6 million to diabetes.

Now let me share another set of numbers: 6.1 million deaths are linked to air pollution and nearly 30 million people were affected by extreme weather events last year.

Environment-related threats impact us in a way that is as real and tangible as drugs and chemicals. Natural disasters like extreme weather events have escalated at an unnatural pace. New Zealand just named climate change as its “greatest security threat”.

But despite the imminent threat that environmental problems pose to humans, accountability for these problems has been murky and actions, downright passive.

Environmental issues are still seen as necessary evils in the push for economic growth by governments and profits by businesses.

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Chinese hunger for 'world's smelliest fruit' threatens Malaysian forests

Sam Reeves, with Lillian Ding in Beijing, AFP Yahoo News 6 Feb 19;

Raub (Malaysia) (AFP) - Soaring demand for durians in China is being blamed for a new wave of deforestation in Malaysia with environmentalists warning vast amounts of jungle is being cleared to make way for massive plantations of the spiky, pungent fruit.

Grown across tropical Southeast Asia, the durian is hailed as the "king of fruits" by fans, who liken its creamy texture and intense aroma to blue cheese.

But detractors say durians stink of sewage and stale vomit. The strong smell means many hotels across the region have banned guests from bringing them to rooms, while Singapore does not allow the fruit on its subway system.

Nevertheless, they are a hit in China, and the increase in demand has prompted exporters to vye for a bigger share of the burgeoning market.

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Indonesia: Fish breeding firm under fire for polluting Lake Toba

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 6 Feb 19;

The North Sumatra provincial administration has reprimanded fish breeder PT Aquafarm Nusantara for polluting Lake Toba in Toba Samosir regency.

The company operates thousands of floating net cages in Lake Toba to cultivate tilapia but has committed multiple violations in its operations, according North Sumatra Environment Agency head Binsar Situmorang.

They include exceeding the limit of cultivating 26.4 million tons of fish a year and poor waste management, he said.

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Bangkok Is Running Out of Air Purifiers as Toxic Smog Grips Thailand

Anuchit Nguyen Bloomberg 6 Feb 19;

Every time Bangkok fruit seller Veerachai Roopsuwanakul tries to buy an air purifier, he gets the same response: "Out of stock."

"We never imagined the air could get so bad," said Veerachai, who now wears a face mask to filter out dust. "We can’t find a purifier in shops or online."

The Thai capital is grappling with a second year of spiking seasonal air pollution, prompting people to snap up so many filters and masks that supplies are dwindling. Residents fear a long battle lies ahead to keep the toxic smog at bay, signaling growing opportunities for purifier makers such as Sharp Corp. or mask manufacturer 3M Co. in the city of roughly 10 million people.

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Melting ice sheets may cause 'climate chaos': study

Marlowe HOOD, AFP Yahoo News 7 Feb 19;

Paris (AFP) - Billions of tonnes of meltwater flowing into the world's oceans from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could boost extreme weather and destabilise regional climate within a matter of decades, researchers said Wednesday.

These melting giants, especially the one atop Greenland, are poised to further weaken the ocean currents that move cold water south along the Atlantic Ocean floor while pushing tropical waters northward closer to the surface, they reported in the journal Nature.

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Best of our wild blogs: 6 Feb 19

Paying respects to Big Sister
wild shores of singapore

A Rarity @ Dairy Farm Park
Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

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Higher seafood prices, but eateries adapting swimmingly for CNY

SHERLYN SEAH Today Online 3 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE — As Singaporean families gather on Monday evening (Feb 4) to tuck into their Chinese New Year (CNY) reunion dinners, they would certainly have had to fork out more for the fish, prawns and crabs on their tables.

In the lead-up to the festive season, prices of fresh seafood have spiked by 30 to 40 per cent due to high demand and low supply, said Mr Goh Thiam Chwee, Chairman of the Singapore Fish Merchants’ General Association.

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Indonesia: Ministry investigates alleged environment damage in bauxite mining

Antara 5 Feb 19

Bintan, Riau Islands(ANTARA News) - The Environment and Forestry Ministry has deployed a team to bauxite mining sites in Bintan District to investigate alleged environment damage in the region.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya stated when contacted here on Tuesday that the team had arrived at the scene and will take legal measures.

"We will take legal measures," Nurbaya remarked without elaborating further.

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The Hidden Environmental Toll of Mining the World’s Sand

By far the largest mining endeavor globally is digging up sand, mainly for the concrete that goes into buildings. But this little-noticed and largely unregulated activity has serious costs — damaging rivers, wreaking havoc on coastal ecosystems, and even wiping away entire islands.
FRED PEARCE Yale Environment 360 5 Feb 19;

Nothing sounds so dull — even for most environmentalists — as sand mining. But in India, reports of sand mafias cashing in on the country’s construction boom have lately been making headlines. Last month, the issue went viral — a 17-year-old girl named Kavya in a fishing village in the state of Kerala posted a video on a mobile phone app about how excavators and dredgers had invaded her coastal community. “The land beneath our feet is sinking away,” she said. It became a sensation across the country. Bollywood actors backed her, and now the country’s National Green Tribunal, a government body aimed at settling environmental disputes, is to consider the case.

Sand mining is the world’s largest mining endeavor, responsible for 85 percent of all mineral extraction. It is also the least regulated, and quite possibly the most corrupt and environmentally destructive. So could this be a turning point?

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Best of our wild blogs: 5 Feb 19

No Shark Fin in CNY Menu? No Problem! Restaurants Share Positive Reactions
WWF Singapore

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Indonesia: 31 giant turtles lay eggs in Raja Ampat throughout 2018

Antara 4 Feb 19;

Waisai, W Papua (ANTARA News) - A total of 31 leatherback sea turtles, also known as the world`s explorer giant turtles, landed and laid eggs in Yenbekaki Village, Raja Ampat district in West Papua, throughout 2018.

The turtle conservation activist group in Yenbekaki village stated here on Monday that in May 2018, eight leatherback sea turtles landed and laid eggs in the coastal area of Warebar in Yenbekaki.

"Then, there were five leatherback sea turtles that landed and laid their eggs here in June. There were eight turtles in July, three turtles in August, three turtles in September, and four turtles in October, resulting in a total of 31 giant turtles that landed and laid eggs in Yenbekaki village," Yusuf Mayor, Head of turtle conservation activist group, stated in Yenbekaki village.

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Feb 19

The Malayan Jester - Permanent Resident?
Butterflies of Singapore

Chinese New Year Resolution – Let’s eat less of threatened seafood species!
Mei Lin NEO

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Indonesia: Borneo road, railway projects ‘world’s scariest environmental threat'

Kharishar Kahfi The Jakarta Post 3 Feb 19;

When President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo began his tenure in 2014, he uttered his wish to finish a number of infrastructure projects immediately, including the construction of a highway and a railway in Kalimantan.

With dense forests, mountains and many rivers, Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the Borneo island, is faced with transportation problems that have increased production costs. According to the Public Works and Housing Ministry, there were only 6,363 kilometers of main roads connecting cities and provinces across Kalimantan in 2014 and only 68 percent of them were in good condition.

The construction of roads in Kalimantan started in 2015 and, recently, concerns were raised by experts who said that such infrastructure projects were “the world’s scariest environmental threat” and could impact the lives of rare animal species such as orangutans and elephants.

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'Once-in-a-century' floods hit northeast Australia

AFP 3 Feb 19;

Once-in-a-century floods have turned streets into rivers and forced thousands to abandon their homes in northeast Australia, with authorities warning of tornadoes and more rain over the next few days.

Australia's tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent downpour has surged far above normal levels.

Thousands of residents in the city of Townsville in Queensland were without power and cut off by flooded roads.

More severe weather could whip up tornadoes and destructive winds in the days ahead, Bureau of Meteorology state manager Bruce Gunn told reporters Sunday.

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Best of our wild blogs: 3 Feb 19

Happy World Wetlands Day!
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

The Not So Common Common Myna
BES Drongos

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2018
Singapore Bird Group

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Zero Waste Masterplan to focus on electronics, packaging, food waste: Masagos

Melanie Oliveiro Channel NewsAsia 3 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore will relook the waste management cycle for three major streams of trash: Food waste, packing waste and e-waste, under its first Zero Waste Masterplan, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said.

The ministry has designated 2019 as Singapore's Year Towards Zero Waste, in a campaign that aims to raise awareness of waste issues and the need to conserve resources.

At 21 per cent, Singapore's household recycling rate is low when compared with other developed countries like Germany and South Korea.

While Singaporeans are practicing better recycling habits, many of them are still doing it wrong, said Mr Masagos in an interview with 938NOW which was broadcast on Friday (Feb 1).

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Malaysia: ‘Protecting Sarawak’s wildlife a niche tourism product’

Cecilia Sman Borneo Post 3 Feb 19;

MIRI: Sarawakians should cooperate with the authorities by not buying, rearing or trapping protected and totally protected wild animals, to prevent them from being extinct.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin regards continuous and strong cooperation as being vital when it comes to protecting these animals from extinction and Sarawak’s tourism focus.

“Currently among our tourism targets include promoting nature tourism to tap its rich biodiversity, which is a niche tourism product especially to naturalists.

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Indonesia: Population of Komodo dragons in national park stable

Antara 2 Feb 19;

Komodo dragons in the Komodo National Park in West Manggara, East Nusa Tenggara. ANTARA FOTO/Indrianto Eko Suwarso/aww.

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - The population of Komodo dragons at the Komodo National Park located in West Manggara, East Nusa Tenggara Province, reaches 2,897 and is considered to be stable.

"Based on our record, the population of Komodo dragons remains stable, which is between two thousand and three thousand heads," Jackson, the Park`s Komodo dragon monitoring officer, stated here, Saturday.

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UAE's corals suffer 'catastrophic' damage in record summer heat

The future of eight reefs in the Arabian Gulf is in doubt after high temperatures and low winds leave corals dying
Daniel Bardsley The National 2 Feb 19;

Scientists fear the future of the UAE’s reefs is in doubt after research found rising temperatures killed almost three quarters of Abu Dhabi’s coral.

Record temperatures in the summer of 2017 left more than 90 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s coral cover bleached and struggling to survive, New York University Abu Dhabi found.

Dr John Burt, associate professor of biology, said there was a remarkable amount of damage.

“The results were catastrophic,” Dr Burt told The National. “I had never seen anything like it in my career.”

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Hong Kong customs seize record haul of pangolin scales bound for Vietnam

Reuters 1 Feb 19;

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong customs busted a massive endangered species smuggling operation from Africa, seizing a record quantity of pangolin scales along with more than 1,000 ivory tusks, as authorities step up the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking.

The value of the seized goods - which equates to around 500 elephants and up to 13,000 pangolins - was over HK$62 million, ($7.90 million) officials said on Friday. Originating in Nigeria, the shipment was bound for Vietnam, they added.

In a separate incident, customs officials in the northern Vietnamese port of Hai Phong discovered another 1.4 tonnes of pangolin scales in a shipping container sent from Nigeria, the state-run Vietnam News Agency reported on Friday.

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'No malice or cruelty': Pest control company Anticimex rejects claims of mishandling snake at Tang Plaza

Channel NewsAsia 31 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE: There was no malice or cruelty towards the snake outside Tang Plaza during its capture, said pest control firm Anticimex on Thursday (Jan 31) after the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said it was investigating claims that the animal was mishandled.

AVA announced on Tuesday that it was investigating the case after a video on social media showed an Anticimex employee stepping on a 3m-long python while attempting to capture the struggling animal.

The authority previously said: "Cruelty to animals is an offence under the Animals and Birds Act. AVA has issued a set of guidelines on the proper handling of snakes to all pest control and wildlife management agencies in Singapore."

In response to this, Anticimex told Channel NewsAsia that the workers involved "used all necessary parts of their bodies to safely relocate a very large snake in a public place".

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Malaysia: MMEA saves 12 after oil tanker sinks off Tanjung Penyusop in Johor waters

Malay Mail Yahoo News 31 Jan 19;

KOTA TINGGI, Jan 31 — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) today rescued 12 crew members after their vessel sank near Tanjung Penyusop here last night.

All 12 male survivors, including a Malaysian technical passenger, had earlier been stranded at sea after their tanker met with problems at about two nautical miles east of Tanjung Penyusop.

Johor MMEA deputy director (operations) Maritime Captain Sanifah Yusof said the Sea Frontier motor tanker, registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis, was about 75 per cent submerged at about 9.15pm last night.

He said checks revealed that the vessel had hit rocks while attempting to dock, causing hull damage that allowed water into the ship.

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Indonesia: Why burn it? Government studies peatland conservation, management

Yuli Savitri The Jakarta Post 31 Jan 19;

The government has started research into developing peatlands as agricultural lands and conservation areas, following years of plantation companies and farmers using the slash-and-burn method in an attempt to cultivate peatlands.

The South Sumatra Peatland Restoration Team (TRGD) has focused on four areas in the province for developing as peat management and research centers.

TRGD chairman Najib Asmani said that the four areas were mapped on their individual characteristics for researchers to conduct a variety of peatland studies.

The four areas include Sembilang National Park, which UNESCO designated last year as a Biosphere Reserve.

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UK fish and chip shops are selling endangered sharks, DNA tests prove

People buying generic fish such as rock could in fact be eating a range of shark species
Patrick Barkham The Guardian 31 Jan 19;

Fish and chip shops and fishmongers are selling endangered sharks to an unwitting public, according to researchers who used DNA barcoding to identify species on sale.

Most chip shop fish sold under generic names such as huss, rock, flake and rock salmon turned out to be spiny dogfish, a shark species classified as endangered in Europe by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list.

Researchers at the University of Exeter also found fins of shark species unknowingly sold by a British wholesaler included scalloped hammerheads, which are endangered globally, as well as shortfin mako and smalleye hammerhead sharks.

Other species sold in fish and chip shops and fishmongers included starry smooth-hounds, nursehounds and blue sharks.

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