Best of our wild blogs: 31 Jul 19

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

Cryptics, Mimics and Camouflage
Hantu Blog

Singapore Raptor Report – Late Spring Migration, April-June 2019
Singapore Bird Group

Night Walk At Ang Mo Kio Garden West (26 Jul 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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4 more die of dengue, 9 deaths in total in 2019: MOH, NEA

Channel NewsAsia 29 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Four people have died from dengue in recent weeks, bringing the total number of dengue deaths this year to nine, the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement on Monday (Jul 29).

The four men died between Jun 30 and Jul 16, the authorities said.

The first, a 70-year-old man, who died on Jun 30, lived within a previously active dengue cluster at Hougang Avenue 5. The cluster was closed on Jul 12, with four dengue cases reported.

Three others died on Jul 16, the statement added.

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Istana launches series of medallions, featuring oriental pied hornbill and barn owl, to mark 150th anniversary

Ng Huiwen Straits Times 28 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE - The public can get their hands on a series of four souvenir medallions celebrating the Istana's rich diversity of flora and fauna from Sunday (July 28).

Two of the medallions, which are available only in a special 4-in-1 set, depict the beloved oriental pied hornbill and barn owl among tropical fruits and spices, The Singapore Mint said.

Only 100 of the special medallion sets will be available at the National Day Open House on Sunday.

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4 Mandai research projects awarded $600,000 funding

Teams will study area's environmental conditions, effects of eco-tourism plans
Lee Qing Ping Straits Times 30 Jul 19;

Four local environmental research projects have been awarded a total of $600,000 to study conditions in the Mandai precinct.

Some of the projects will also help identify ways to address the impact of developments to turn the area into an eco-tourism hub.

The grants were announced yesterday and will be disbursed by Mandai Park Development (MPD), the body overseeing the precinct's development.

It envisions the area becoming an integrated nature and wildlife district that will include a new rainforest park in addition to the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Bird Park, which will be moved over from Jurong.

"Having been allocated this land for development, our aim is to strive for a better outcome than before," said Dr Lee Hui Mien, MPD's vice-president of sustainable solutions.

"The additional research will allow us to proactively identify knowledge gaps and delve deeper into specific issues which may be unique to the Mandai district.

"New data could also add to the scientific advancement of our local biodiversity knowledge."

Read more!

Explainer: Can artificial snow save the West Antarctic ice sheet and prevent sea levels from rising?


SINGAPORE — With the West Antarctic ice sheet starting to melt, which can lead to a rise in sea levels, a team of researchers has come up with a radical proposal: To artificially create snow to thicken up the ice sheet.

The team proposed using over 12,000 wind turbines to pump cold water from the sea onto the surface to create snow, which then becomes part of the ice sheet.

The study, released on Wednesday (July 17), was led by a professor from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, Adam Levermann, who told Reuters: “We are already at a point of no return if we don’t do anything.”

However, the team cautioned that “the practical realisation of elevating and distributing the ocean water would mean an unprecedented effort for humankind in one of the harshest environments of the planet”.

TODAY spoke to several experts to find out how feasible the proposal is.

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Could more be done to reduce plastic packaging waste in Singapore's supermarkets?

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 28 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: A stroll around most supermarkets reveals how important plastic seems to be in the sale of fresh food.

Fruit and vegetables are often wrapped in plastic while meat and fish usually comes in a tray encased in clingwrap. There are also usually plenty of plastic bags on hand for those loose items that shoppers select before they're weighed and priced.

Such scenes are repeated at supermarkets around the world.

But questions are starting to be raised about whether more should be done to reduce the reliance of supermarkets on plastic packaging, as the debate extends beyond cutting down on plastic shopping bags.

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Indonesia: Five provinces declare emergency status for land and forest fires

Antara 30 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture announced that five provinces in the country have declared an emergency status over land and forest fires in response to the threat of drought with moderate to high risks in 2019

The five provinces are Riau, West Kalimantan, South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

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Malaysia: Shrinking home range causing human-wildlife conflict, says MNS president

The Star 28 Jul 19;

MELAKA (Bernama): Lately, there has been a lot of news about wild animals such as tigers, elephants and tapir straying into human areas and causing conflict between the two sides.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail (pic) said wild animals needed space to find food, a mate and establish territory.

"Unsystematic forest exploration is shrinking the forest. Human settlements close to animal habitats are having an impact on wildlife home range and forcing the animals to wander into human territory,” he said when contacted by Bernama recently.

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Malaysia: Save the Malayan Tiger trust fund gets MYCAT financial boost

New Straits Times 28 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) has presented a cash donation of RM46,800 to the Save the Malayan Tiger trust fund.

Its general manager Dr Kae Kawanishi said the donation, collected over the years from anonymous donors and volunteers, would be used for better protection of tigers in Taman Negara.

“I am from Japan, and we have this proverb, ‘Even dust can accumulate to be a mountain’.

“To some, RM46,800 is not a lot of money, but for us it exemplifies a proud example made by numerous individuals over the years,” she said in a statement in conjunction with Global Tiger Day, today.

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Malaysia: Wild elephant dies after hit by lorry in Hulu Terengganu

Bernama New Straits Times 29 Jul 19;

HULU TERENGGANUL: A wild elephant was killed after it was hit by a lorry carrying iron ore in an incident at KM44 of Jalan Kuala Berang-Aring here, last night.

Hulu Terengganu district police chief DSP Mohd Adli Mat Daud said the incident occurred at about 10.30 pm when lorry driver Emyhaizi Ahmad, 32, was heading from Gua Musang to the Kemaman Port.

According to Mohd Adli, the driver reported that when he arrived at the scene, a group of wild elephants suddenly came out of the forest area, and he could not stop the vehicle in time.

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Indonesia sends 7 containers of plastic waste back to France, Hong Kong

Fadli The Jakarta Post 30 Jul 19;

The Batam Customs Office in Riau Islands has sent seven containers containing hazardous and toxic waste owned by importing company PT Arya Wiraraja Plastinindo on their way back to France and Hong Kong.

The seven were the first out of a batch of 49 containers of toxic waste to be shipped back to their countries of origin to have started their return journeys. They were shipped from Batu Ampar Port in Batam, Riau Islands on Monday.

The loading of the seven containers onto the Capricorn 97.210 barge was conducted by Batam Customs Office workers and witnessed by representatives of the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Riau Islands Police, the Batam district prosecutors office and local environment agencies.

The ship took the seven containers to Singapore on a four-hour trip. From Singapore, the containers continued their journey to Hong Kong and France.

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Indonesia: East Nusa Tenggara set to close Komodo Island

Antara 29 Jul 19;

Kupang (ANTARA) - East Nusa Tenggara is set to close the Komodo Island tourist area in West Manggarai district in 2020 despite objections from communities, Deputy Governor of the province, Josef A Nae Soi has stated.

"The decision to close the Komodo Island tourist area is already final, and it will take effect in 2020. This closure is intended for conservation purpose in order to maintain the Komodos population and its habitat," said the deputy governor here Monday.

The protests from the community rejecting the closure of the tourist area was an expected response to the government's policy, Nae Soi remarked.

The closure is an effort to conserve the Komodo National Park and Komodo population from extinction, he said.

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Indonesia: Ministry to release two Sumatran tigers in Riau

Antara 29 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA) - The Environment and Forestry Ministry will release two Sumatran tigers into their habitat in Riau Province after it cooperated with the Dharmasraya Sumatra Tigers Rehabilitation Center-ARSARI Djojohadikusumo Foundation (PR-HSD-ARSARI Foundation) to conduct rescue activities.

The Sumatran tigers comprise a female tiger called Bonita and a male tiger named Atan Bintang, the ministry noted in a press statement released on Monday.

Bonita was rescued from a plantation at Tanjung Simpang Village in Indragiri Hilir District on January 3, 2018, while Atan Bintan was rescued from a residential area in Burung Island also in the district on November 18, 2018.

"The conservation of (endangered) animals would be successful if all sides were to work together. The result of PVA (Population Viability Analysis) shows the population of Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat reaches only 603 found in 23 habitat enclaves," Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Wiratno stated.

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Indonesia: Six Javanese porcupines released into Lake Buyan Natural Park

Antara 29 Jul 19;

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - Six Javanese porcupines (Hystrix javanica) belonging to Bali Zoo in Gianyar District were released into the Lake Buyan-Lake Tamblingan Natural Park in Buleleng District, Bali.

During a series of events to commemorate Nature Conservation National Day on Sunday (July 28), a male and five female porcupines, aged between one and two years and weighing between five and six kilograms, were released into the Lake Buyan-Lake Tamblingan Natural Park in collaboration with Bali's Natural Resource Conservation Center.

"We hope that the released porcupine would breed well," Bali Zoo's spokesperson, Emma Kristina Chandra, remarked here, Monday.

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Indonesia: Drought threats may affect food prices: researcher

Antara 28 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government would need to seriously address the threat posed by drought as it could lead to the risk of crop failures and furthermore affect food prices, a researcher at he Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) Galuh Octania said.

"The risk of crop failure cannot be separated from drought as most parts of Indonesia has started to experience dry season," Octania said in a written statement received in Jakarta on Sunday.

Hence, she said, the government must be aware of the possibility of soaring food prices.

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Commentary: Singapore’s climate change fight must be clear about these facts

More needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 for effective adaptation, say Bertrand Seah, Tim Min Jie, Sarah Ichioka and Wong Pei Chi.
Bertrand Seah, Tim Min Jie, Sarah Ichioka and Wong Pei Chi Channel NewsAsia 27 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The commentary “As time runs out on the climate crisis, Singapore prepares to address the cost of adapting” adopts the kind of urgent language appropriate to the climate crisis we are facing now.

It emphasises the importance of adaptation measures, which lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic changes. One such example is recent measure to build Changi Airport Terminal 5 5.5 metres above mean sea level to deal with rising sea levels.

It is highly disappointing, however, that it downplays the pressing need to adopt more substantial mitigating measures that address root causes, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The commentary notes that the question of mitigation in Singapore has been far simpler and less politically fraught than in other countries, and that Singaporeans have already worked towards more climate-friendly consumption patterns.

This obscures a few important facts about mitigation, unlike what the commentary posits, as the cost of climate change mitigation is very much “inextricably linked to political to political questions of cost, economic restructuring, decline and job losses”.


Firstly, the source of much of Singapore’s emissions is not consumers, but industry.

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Malaysia: Short-finned pilot whales sighted in Terengganu waters

Bernama New Straits Times 26 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Barely nine days after a pair of orcas or killer whales sighted in Terengganu waters for the first time ever, a pod of short-finned pilot whales have been making an appearance in the state waters on Wednesday.

Rantau Abang Fisheries Research Institute (FRI)’s Marine Mammals branch head Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad said the short-finned pilot whales were found swimming near the Perhentian Island in Besut waters, at 30 kilometres from the beach and at a depth between 30 and 35 metres.

“The incident was captured by fishermen in a 39-second video clip. Based on the video recording and the fishermen’s conversations, they said the mammals are very large in size and in a big group, I believe they are short-finned pilot whales or its scientific name Globicephala Macrorhynchus because they have this habit of moving in a large group of 10 to 50,” he said in a statement today.

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Indonesia: Riau blanketed in haze as peat fire spreads

Channel NewsAsia 25 Jul 19;

PEKANBARU, Riau: A team has been dispatched to put out peatland fires in Siak and Pelalawan which resulted in a thick cloak of smog engulfing the provincial capital of Pekanbaru on Thursday (Jul 25) and disrupting residents’ daily activities.

Satellites spotted four hot spots which indicated early signs of land and forest fires in Riau, an Indonesian province located on the central eastern coast of Sumatra, state news agency Antara reported.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said two of the hot spots were seen in the Pelalawan regency while the other two were in Siak.

“Today we conduct damping down operations in Siak and Langgam, Pelalawan. God willing (the fire will be) cleared,” said Mr Edwar Sanger, representative of the task force in-charge of putting out forest and land fires in Riau.

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Indonesia: Burning-free farming project bears fruit in South Sumatra

Yulia Savitri The Jakarta Post 25 Jul 19;

Haze from forest and bush fires has long been a major problem, not only for locals, but also for people in neighboring countries. However, there is good news from South Sumatra that a burning-free agriculture pilot project launched in 2017 has started to bear fruit.

Suka Makmur village head Hartono in Lalan district, Musi Banyuasin regency, South Sumatra, looked proudly at the crops grown in his village on pilot project farms known as demonstration plots (demplots), sponsored by the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG).

Suka Makmur was named one of the province’s peatland recovery priority areas following the 2015 fires that burned forest and bush land in the village and other areas across Sumatra.

“We have harvested [various crops] in the last two years,” said Hartono Wednesday, adding that Suka Makmur had two demonstration plots — one for horticulture and one for fruit.

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Indonesia: Sea-level rise poses threat to Jakarta, Semarang, Demak coastal areas

Antara 25 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Rising sea levels and decreasing land surface, driven by global climate change, pose an existential crisis to coastal communities in Jakarta, Semarang, and Demak.

Experts project that this threat will potentially inflict a huge financial and emotional toll on residents in these areas owing to loss or damage to property, among others repercussions.

Experts have forecast sea levels to rise 25 to 50 centimeters in 2050, and by 2100, the seawater will inundate most coastal cities in Indonesia.

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Vietnam: Seven dead tigers found in car

AFP 26 Jul 19;

A haul of frozen tiger carcasses found in a car in Hanoi has led to the arrest of a key wildlife trafficking suspect, Vietnamese state media said Friday, as the country tries to tackle a well-worn smuggling route from Laos.

Nguyen Huu Hue, who is believed to have smuggled animals in from neighbouring Laos for years, was arrested Thursday with two other people after seven dead tigers were discovered in their vehicle at a parking lot, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper.

"Hue set up a company... which sells building material as a cover for the illegal trading of tigers and wildlife," Cong An Nhan Dan, the official mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, reported.

All seven tigers appeared to be cubs, according to photos of the seizure.

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Arctic wildfires: What's caused huge swathes of flames to spread?

BBC 26 Jul 19;

Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic, with areas of northern Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland engulfed in flames.

Lightning frequently triggers fires in the region but this year they have been worsened by summer temperatures that are higher than average because of climate change.

Plumes of smoke from the fires can be seen from space.

Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), described them as "unprecedented".

How bad is it?

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Project Wolbachia still in study phase, will not be deployed in dengue clusters: NEA

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 24 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Project Wolbachia is still in the research study phase and therefore has not been deployed in dengue clusters, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday (Jul 24).

In a joint statement with the Ministry of Health (MOH), NEA said Project Wolbachia, which took home a distinguished award at the Minister for National Development’s R&D Awards on Tuesday, has shown great results.

The project involves infecting male Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria, so that when they mate with females, the latter’s eggs do not hatch. Wolbachia-infected males also do not bite.

Now in its third phase, the study areas for the project has expanded by about 3.7 times since it first began in 2016, with a 90 per cent suppression of the Aedes mosquito population in the Nee Soon and Tampines study sites.

“Such a focused approach is needed to derive good comparative results, and a consistent and comprehensive data set over time, to ensure the robustness of the study before scaling-up to more areas beyond Yishun and Tampines,” said NEA.

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Malaysia, Johor: Putrajaya probing early warning system that did not activate during Johor pollution

Channel NewsAsia 24 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government is reviewing an RM846 million (US$205 million) environment quality early warning system that failed to activate during a series of pollution incidents in Johor this year, environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said on Wednesday (Jul 24).

According to a Malay Mail report, the Environmental Quality Monitoring Programme (EQMP) did not alert authorities to the illegal dumping of toxic waste at Sungai Kim Kim in March as well as the more recent environmental incidents.

“The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) has since been reviewing the performance and efficiency of the system, the legal aspects, and renegotiating the terms of the agreement, with the possibility of early termination,” Ms Yeo was quoted as saying in the report.

“The hefty cost charged by the concessionaire makes up almost 30 per cent of Department of Environment’s (DoE) annual budget, depriving the department from critical expenditures on transportation, tools and most of all human development for enforcement activities,” she noted.

The nationwide EQMP is a public-private partnership project between the federal government and Pakar Scieno TW Sdn Bhd.

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Malaysia: Govt agencies to discuss integrated efforts to fight river pollution in Johor

Bernama New Straits Times 24 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: Continued integrated efforts by government agencies to deal with river pollution are among the issues that will be discussed at the meeting of the State Permanent Committee on Environment on Sunday.

Johor Environment Department (DoE) director Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaafar said the department took a serious view of river pollution.

“What is important is integrated action by the various agencies to overcome river pollution,” he said when he was asked to comment on the worsening levels of pollution in at least 16 rivers in the districts of Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang.

The meeting will be chaired by state Local Government, Urban Well Being and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon.

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Malaysia: Perhilitan translocates two-tonne wild jumbo to Terengganu national park

The Star 24 Jul 19;

KOTA BARU (Bernama): A two-tonne male wild elephant captured in Batu Melintang, Jeli, on Sunday (July 21) was successfully relocated by the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) to the Terengganu National Park.

Kelantan Perhilitan director Ady Ermanty Haniff Mohamed Hanif said that two decoy elephants, namely, Abot and Rambai, from the National Elephant Conservation Centre (NECC) in Kuala Gandah, Lanchang, in Pahang were used in the operation.

He said that the relocation exercise started at 8.30am Wednesday (July 24) and was completed at 1.15pm.

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Indonesia fights spreading fires in Central Kalimantan as dry season is set to peak

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja Straits Times 24 Jul 19;

JAKARTA - Indonesia is stepping up efforts to fight spreading forest fires in Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island that have moved closer to residential areas and public roads.

The dry season is expected to peak soon in the province, prompting the authorities to increase firefighting efforts.

Two helicopters on Tuesday (July 23) were deployed to Palangkaraya, the provincial capital, for water-bombing runs to remote areas.

"We have started water-bombing in Central Kalimantan. The ground and air teams are ready in five provinces," Mr Dody Ruswandi, the secretary-general of Indonesian disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), told The Straits Times.

Fires have also occurred in Sumatra and Java.

"The situation in Sumatra is under control," Mr Dody said.

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Best of our wild blogs: 24 Jul 19

Singapore Bird Report – June 2019
Singapore Bird Group

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Singapore seizes record haul of ivory alongside pangolin scales in S$66m shipment

Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities on Sunday (Jul 21) seized S$66.2 million worth of elephant ivory and pangolin scales after they intercepted a transshipment bound for Vietnam.

Officials found 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales and 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory in a container from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the National Parks Board, Singapore Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in a joint release on Tuesday.

The container was part of a shipment of three being transhipped through Singapore to Vietnam, and had been declared as timber.

However "upon inspection, sacks containing pangolin scales and elephant ivory were found in one of the containers", said the news release.

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HDB to explore building cooler homes, 3D printing for future flats

Cindy Co and Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Cooler Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats could soon be a reality for Singaporeans.

At the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress 2019 on Tuesday (Jul 23), HDB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Evonik (SEA) to incorporate the firm's new silicon-based material into the roofing of HDB flats, offering better protection against Singapore’s heat.

Called Calostat, the insulation could reduce the ambient temperature in HDB flats by up to 2 degrees Celsius.

Initial trials are expected to start in the first quarter of 2020, and Calostat could also potentially be used for other parts of the building if they are successful, said HDB in a press release.

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Malaysia: Sandakan Marine cops seize 7k turtle eggs worth RM13k

stephanie lee The Star 23 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Marine police in Sandakan seized some 7,000 turtle eggs from a pump boat near the Sungai Batu 2 river on early Monday (July 22).

Sabah Marine police commander Asst Comm Mohamad Pajeri Ali said the eggs, worth about RM12,600, were seized at about 2.30am.

“We believe these eggs were smuggled in from the Philippines and are meant to be sold to the local market in Sandakan and its surrounding areas,” he said in a statement.

ACP Pajeri said prior to the seizure, marine police were conducting patrols in the area and they saw a suspicious looking green and blue pump boat with two men on board.

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Malaysia: Influencers fuelling illegal wildlife trade with exotic pet photos

mei mei chu The Star 22 Jul 19;

PETALING JAYA: First, it was photos of food. Now, the Instagram fame game has grown to celebrities and social media influencers sharing pictures of their exotic pets, many of which are protected wildlife. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and conservationists say this growing trend is fuelling the demand in the illegal wildlife trade.

The Star found that since 2015, celebrities and social media influencers, some with over three million followers, have been publicly showing images of endangered wildlife kept as households pets.

Among the popular wildlife are dusky leaf monkeys (lotong) and leopard cats (kucing batu). The Star also found a sun bear and an Asian palm civet.

These wildlife, mostly juveniles that can be easily bought online, are often photographed wearing diapers, collars and clothes.

In the posts, the owners call them their “babies”, drawing excited res­ponses from followers asking where to buy them.

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Malaysia: After whales and tigers, sun bears make their presence felt in Terengganu

Bernama New Straits Times 23 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: There seems to be no end to the streak of wildlife sightings in Terengganu in the past week.

Just days after killer whales and tigers made sudden appearances in the state’s waters and in a village, three sun bears were seen roaming at a Felda settlement here.

The bears were spotted in Felda Belara over the past two weeks, forcing residents to seek help from the Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

The department laid traps resulting in one of them being captured at 9.30pm last night.

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Malaysia: Ulu Muda logging suspension costing Kedah economy RM435m

Audrey Dermawan New Straits Times 22 Jul 19;

ALOR STAR: The economic cost of suspending logging activities in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve (UMFR) currently stands at RM435.52 million, says the Kedah Loggers’ Association (PPNK).

PPNK chairman Wan Muhammad Amin Mokhtar said this loss of revenue to Kedah's economy, being shouldered by loggers, resulted from the suspension of the Selective Management System logging on 20,000ha of the UMFR, out of the 106,418ha forest reserve.

The remaining hectarage is not a production forest and, thus, is fully protected.

He said this loss had not only impacted the logging industry but also other industries and the general population of the state.

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Malaysia: Sabah offers rhino’s eggs to Indonesia

muguntan vanar The Star 24 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is offering the eggs of its last remaining female Sumatran rhino Iman for fertilisation with male rhinos from Indonesia, says Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

Malaysia is also offering its expertise and experience on rhino conservation in Sabah in the hope of reversing the threat of extinction of these animals, she said.

“Together we will be able to reverse the Sumatran rhino’s fate,” Liew, who is Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said in a statement from WWF Malaysia.

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Indonesia: Huge fire ravages forest area of Kota Batu's Mt Panderman

Antara 22 Jul 19;

Kota Batu, Jawa Timur (ANTARA) - A huge wildfire ravaged forest area on the slope of Mount Panderman in Kota Batu, East Java, on Sunday evening but the disaster did not harm anyone because all mountaineers had safely arrived at the mountain's observation post, according to local authorities.

Head of Kota Batu's Disaster Mitigation Agency's Emergency and Logistics Unit Achmad Choirur Rochim said here on Monday that the latest report of Mt Panderman's Observation Post authority had confirmed that wildfire did not harm the lives of climbers.

"According to the latest report released by Mount Panderman's Observation Post authority at 10 p.m. local time, none of climbers remains at the mountain's climbing tracks when the fire is engulfing the forest," Rochim said.

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Indonesian Supreme Court declares Jokowi among those liable for 2015 forest fires resulting in regional haze

Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

JAKARTA: The Attorney-General of Indonesia on Monday (Jul 22) defended the government after the country's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which blamed President Joko Widodo and his cabinet ministers, as well as regional administrations, for failing to control the wildfires in 2015.

The wildfires which raged through Indonesia in 2015 caused thick haze to engulf the country and neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, the Jakarta Post reported on Monday.

“The conclusion is the government should fulfil its obligation to protect its citizens against the disaster," said Supreme Court spokesman Abdullah after the ruling on Friday. "It should work on necessary efforts to stop wildfires from happening."

Attorney-General H M Prasetyo on Monday said the government has acted to tackle the wildfires issue.

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Best of our wild blogs: 22 Jul 19

Yeomen of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

Butterflies at Dairy Farm Park (May - June) 2019
Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

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As time runs out on the climate crisis, Singapore prepares to address the cost of adapting

The threat of climate change is long term, the size of the investments concerned could be unprecedented and fundamental shifts in how the Government is structured may be needed.
Jaime Ho Channel NewsAsia 21 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The tone in Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli’s speech on Wednesday (Jul 17) was unmistakable.

In outlining ongoing extreme weather events worldwide, both closer to home and across Europe and Asia, Mr Masagos said that “time is running out” in the world’s collective ability to avert the calamity that will come if current trends persist.

Last year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the pinnacle of global scientific research on climate, projected with “high confidence” that global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052.

2030 is 11 years away.

The time has therefore come for clear-eyed assessments of what more must be done.

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Tropical cities will face 'unknown climates' by 2050

David Fogarty Straits Times 22 Jul 19;

Many of the world's major cities will face sharply different climates by 2050, with those in the tropics such as Singapore and Jakarta facing conditions they have never experienced before, including more intense rainfall and extreme droughts, researchers say.

Cities are on the front line for climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and threats to food security.

Half of the planet's population lives in cities and by 2050, little more than a generation away, three in four will live in urban areas, says the United Nations.

Singapore is boosting its defences and resilience. Last week, the Government announced it will pump $400 million over the next two years into upgrading and maintaining drains, and channel $10 million into studying sea level rise. These are just two of many measures meant to guard against a multitude of climate threats.

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New tech tools at Botanic Gardens arboretum will help conserve endangered forest giants

Yuen Sin Straits Times 20 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE - Due to illegal logging and deforestation, the population of dipterocarps - iconic trees that constitute the backbone of the Indo-Malayan rainforests - have decreased over the years.

Many species in Singapore have also become critically endangered.

When it opens at the end of this year, the OCBC arboretum in the Botanic Gardens will house an integrated suite of technological tools that will be employed to better track the climate, growth and conditions of these trees, and bolster efforts to conserve them, it was announced on Saturday (July 20).

The arboretum will also serve as a test bed for new technological tools for tree maintenance that will be progressively rolled out across the island over the next five years.

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Bigger Aedes mosquito population identified as key reason for surge in dengue cases

Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The Aedes aegypti mosquito population has increased by almost three times since the last major dengue outbreak in 2013, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Jul 19) as it outlined some of the key reasons for the high number of cases this year.

As of Thursday, there were 188 active dengue clusters in Singapore, of which more than 45 are listed as high-risk. There have also been 7,808 dengue cases so far this year, about five times more than the same period last year.

The largest dengue cluster in Woodlands, where there were 216 reported cases, has closed and is now under surveillance, NEA said.

“We are in the peak dengue season in Singapore, which usually stretches from June to October, and the region around us is similarly seeing an upsurge of dengue cases this year,” the agency said in a media advisory.

“Urgent community action is needed to eliminate all potential mosquito breeding habitats.”

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Malaysia, Johor: Sungai Danga pollution not due to sewage plant

The Star 20 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) says its wastewater treatment activities are not to blame for recent reports of pollution in Sungai Danga.

IWK said the sewage treatment plants managed by IWK around Sungai Danga and the entire area under Iskandar Puteri Municipal Council (MPIP) are in good condition and comply with the standards stipulated by the Depart­ment Of Environment (DOE).

IWK also cooperates with regulatory bodies such as DOE, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Natio­nal Water Services Commission, Johor Water Regulatory Body, MPIP and local authorities in relation to complaints that the water in Sungai Danga has turned black and emits a stench.

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Malaysia, Johor: Call to protect buffer zones along riverbanks

zazali musa The Star 20 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state government is urged to take stern action against those found encroaching into the buffer zones on both sides of the riverbanks in Johor.

Green Earth Society Johor president P. Sivakumar said the 50m buffer zones should be free from human activities such as vegetable farming, commodity crops cultiva­tion and sand mining.

He said the authorities should start looking at how bad the situation was along the riverbanks in the state, including at Sungai Johor as the river is the main source of raw water supply in the southern part of the state.

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Malaysia: SSPA welcomes protection of four shark, two ray species under amended regulations

Avila Geraldin New Straits Times 21 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Four species of shark and two species of ray have been listed as endangered under newly amended Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

The federal government gazette, which could be found on, mentioned about six new items inserted after subheading “Species under the Sawfish group”.

The newly listed species under the Shark group are Sphyrna mokarran (great hammerhead shark), Sphyrna zygaena (smooth hammerhead shark), Eusphyra blochii (winghead shark) and the Carcharhinus longimanus (oceanic whitetip shark).

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Malaysia: Exotic pet shops in Miri raided

The Star 21 Jul 19;

MIRI: More then 50 endangered or exotic animals have been seized from seven pet shops here during raids by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

The premises were a front for the illegal wildlife trade. The seized animals included long-tailed macaques, hill mynah, rare parrots and exotic Indian star tortoises.

The raids followed complaints from the local community and expatriates that many pet shops in Miri were selling animals in cruel, cramped conditions.

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Indonesia: Fire razes hectares of peatland on Pekanbaru's outskirts

Antara 21 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Fire has razed 15 hectares of peatland on the outskirts of the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru since Friday (July 18, 2019)

"The fire broke out on Friday (July 19, 2019). Right now, our team, along with personnel of the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Regional Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) are trying to put out the fire," Chief of the Pekanbaru Chapter of Forest Fire Control Brigade (Manggala Agn) Edwin Putra said here on Sunday.

It took long time to extinguish the blaze since the land mostly consisted of shrubs and peatland, he said.

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Indonesia: Plastic monster raises Indonesians' awareness of menace of plastic

Antara 20 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - A civil society coalition of 49 environmental groups, including the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and Greenpeace, launched a public awareness campaign highlighting the menace of single-use plastic bags by showcasing a plastic monster.

The plastic monster was displayed as a means of raising awareness among community members of the grave threat of marine debris akin to that posed by a dangerous monster, Chairperson of the Pandu Laut Nusantara (PLN) Prita Laura stated here on Saturday.

Several people are yet ignorant of the dangers posed by trash piles at sea to their lives. Hence, the community members need to be made aware of the fact that their daily lifestyle had contributed to the plastic waste crisis, she remarked.

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Best of our wild blogs: 19 Jul 19

Sentosa Tanjung Rimau still alive!
wild shores of singapore

Pasir Ris explodes with sea hares and Babylon snails
wild shores of singapore

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Can Singapore and rest of South-east Asia rise to the challenge of surging seas?

BENJAMIN HORTON Today Online 18 Jul 19;

The Government announced in March that it will start a National Sea Level Programme this year to bring together research expertise and better understand how rising sea levels will impact Singapore.

On Wednesday (July 17), Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said that the Government will set aside S$10 million in funding for the programme over the next five years and set up a new office to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in climate science.

Why are sea levels rising and how will it affect the region and Singapore? And what can we do about it?

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Citizens’ workgroup to be formed to help improve recycling culture

Comprising 50 S'poreans from diverse backgrounds, it will work on creating effective solutions
Timothy Goh Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

The Government will convene a citizens' workgroup as part of its efforts to tackle climate change and environmental issues.

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor during the Partners for the Environment Forum yesterday.

Dr Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems that cannot be addressed by the Government alone", and which require businesses and individuals to also do their part.

Though the public has already been engaged widely on the Zero Waste Masterplan which will be launched later this year, Dr Khor said that the Government wants to go beyond discussion to action, and work with Singaporeans to co-create effective solutions to environmental issues.

The citizen's workgroup is an example of such collaboration. Comprising 50 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, it will work with the authorities on solutions to improve the way people here recycle at home.

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Environmental champions lauded for efforts, inspiring others to go green

LAUREN ONG Today Online 18 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — No plastic straws, plastic water bottles or plastic boxes are being sold or used on the premises of Commonwealth Secondary School, thanks to a push by the school’s biology teacher, Mr Jacob Tan Guan Rui.

The drive to minimise the use of plastic was spurred by a conversation that Mr Tan had with his former student, who was aghast by the exorbitant amount of plastic waste he witnessed in schools, especially the polytechnic where he was.

Mr Tan, 33, said: “I wasn’t aware of the issue of plastic waste pollution until, in September 2017, the ex-student came back to look for me and told me (how this was bothering him).

Mr Tan agreed that more could be done in this area and said that he would read up more and see if he could “influence the school community” to support an initiative to cut down on plastic use.

Commonwealth Secondary School now has a campaign that bans plastic products from the canteen since the end of 2017.

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Singaporeans head to fire hotspot village in Indonesia to tackle haze

Michael Taylor Reuters 19 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Singaporean charity is working with villagers in Indonesia to restore ancient peatlands, seeking to curb the haze that chokes the region every year, organizers said on Thursday.

Indonesian farmers burn huge swathes of land every year to clear land for agricultural expansion, creating a vast haze that clouds the skies over large parts of Southeast Asia - including Singapore.

Now the People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze), an advocacy group in the city-state, has launched a peatland restoration project in a tiny Indonesian village that suffered bad fires in 2014.

“One of the things we realized is that good management of peatland is very important for managing haze in the region,” Benjamin Tay, executive director of PM Haze told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“A lot of the haze comes over from that part of Indonesia into Singapore, so by preventing fires and haze in that region, we prevent haze from coming to Singapore,” he said.

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Community sheds with litter-picking tools for beach clean-ups set up in Singapore parks

Channel NewsAsia 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Sheds with shared, reusable litter-picking tools dubbed CleanPods have been set up at three parks in Singapore, the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) and National Parks Board (NParks) said on Wednesday (Jul 17).

Volunteer groups who organise beach clean-ups will be able to reduce waste by using the tools provided in the community storage platform, the two agencies said.

The existing methods of organising such activities might potentially contribute to waste, PHC and NParks said.

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Malaysia, Johor: 3 factories identified as most likely sources of Pasir Gudang air pollution

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Environment Department (DoE) has identified three chemical-based factories as the most likely sources of the air pollution in Pasir Gudang last month.

DoE director-general Norlin Jaafar said the factories were found to have high levels of methyl mercaptan readings when the incident was first reported.

“The three factories were identified through a process of elimination following checks on all 257 chemical-based factories in Pasir Gudang,” she said.

“All of them are also located within a 3km radius of Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar and SK Pasir Gudang 4.”

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Malaysia: Orangutan numbers drop as much as 30% in Malaysian palm oil estate forests - WWF

Reuters 18 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Orangutan populations in forest patches found in oil palm estates in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah fell as much as 30% in 15 years, but the overall population of the species in the area is stable, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said.

WWF’s findings, which it says are the result of the most intensive survey ever done on any great ape in the world, show that orangutan numbers fell by 30% and 15% respectively in Kulamba and Tabin, in eastern Sabah, between 2002 and 2017.

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Malaysia: Tigers spotted in Kampung Besul

Rosli Zakaria New Straits Times 18 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Yesterday, a pair of killer whales made a huge splash all over the news when they appeared near the oil rigs in Dulang, off the Terengganu coast, and today, villagers in Kampung Besul in Dungun were shocked when a pair of usually nocturnal tigers roamed along a road in the village in broad daylight.

Facebook user Adli Mohamed uploaded three pictures of the tigers, one leaning against a car and another resting under a tree.

He claimed in his posting that the pictures were authentic and that the incident happened today.

“They appeared before my eyes and I now know the experience of trying to escape from dangerous animal on a motorcycle,” he said, adding that the pictures were taken with his mobile phone camera.

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Malaysia: Vietnamese fishermen targeting sea cucumber in Sabah waters

Norasikin Daineh New Straits Times 19 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Vietnamese fishermen are now targeting sea cucumbers apart from other seafood in Malaysian waters especially in Kudat.

State Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy operations director captain Asmawati Mohd Tujeri said the agency was aware that there was a change of trend with foreign fishermen now focusing on the species.

She described the rampant catching of sea cucumbers during its recent arrests as worrying as the activity would destroy the marine ecosystem.

"We notice that the foreign vessels did not only take our fish but also aiming for the species.

"This is serious as they used metals along the seabed to take those sea cucumbers which would damage coral reefs,” she said.

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Indonesia: 11 provinces should declare alert status for forest fire - Ministry

Antara 18 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs has appealed to 11 provincial administrations prone to land and forest fires to impose emergency alert status in their respective regions.

"Regions must soon declare an emergency alert status, because of the total 16 provinces (prone to forest fires), only five have imposed the status," the ministry's Deputy for Public Order and Security Coordination Insp. Gen Carlo B. Tewu remarked during a coordination meeting to evaluate and take precautionary measures against land and forest fires here on Thursday.

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Indonesia: North Sumatra catches tiger that killed farmer

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 18 Jul 19;

After two months of hunting, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA North Sumatra) has succeeded in catching a Sumatran tiger that killed a farmer.

The agency found the tiger alive on Tuesday in Huta Bargot subdistrict, Sosopan district, Padang Lawas regency, after it entered a trap the agency’s team had prepared.

The tiger was suffering from wounds on its right leg when caught, believed to have been caused by snares placed by residents.

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Indonesia: Komodo Island to be closed in 2020


East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Tourism Agency head Wayan Darmawa announced on Thursday that Komodo Island is to close by the beginning of 2020.

“It is definite; we have decided to close Komodo Island next year,” Wayan said, as reported by Antara news agency.

The closure is intended for the environmental rehabilitation of the island and to improve the conservation efforts for the Komodo dragons .

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Thailand: Marine experts push to plan to protect dugongs

The Phuket News 18 Jul 19;

KRABI: Calling on local fishermen to preserve dugong sea grass grazing areas and establishing a dugong protection zone are just two strategies to be rolled out under a plan to try to stem the rising number of dugongs found dead along the Andaman coast.

The proposals were put forward at a meeting in Krabi on Tuesday (July16) headed by Marine and Coastal Resources Department Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat. Also present were Rear Admiral Nunthapon Mararat of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command and Krabi Vice Governors Somkuan Kunngen and Sompot Chotichuchuang.

So far this year 15 dead dugongs have washed ashore or been found in the sea off the coast of the southern provinces, much higher than the yearly average, the meeting was told.

Mr Jatuporn unveiled a plan comprising short-term, mid-term and long-term phases.

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Thailand: Dramatic drop in Mekong water level sparks alarm

Pratch Rujivanarom The Nation 18 Jul 19;

Mekong River water levels that fell dramatically on Thursday under impact from dam operations will soon recover, says the national water management agency.

Somkiat Prajumwong, secretary-general at the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR), offered the reassurance despite warnings from experts that the dams are destroying Mekong ecosystems and doing long-lasting harm to millions of people who depend on the river.

Over this week, Mekong River levels on the Laos-Thailand border in the Northeast fell at an alarming rate after China’s Jinghong Dam reduced its discharge and Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos began trial operations.

Somkiat admitted that Thai authorities had no measures to mitigate the rapid change in water level but said the river would return to normal quickly, as Jinghong Dam had already resumed its regular discharge rate and the Xayaburi Dam trial would conclude soon.

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IUCN red list reveals wildlife destruction from treetop to ocean floor

Latest list shows extinction now threatens a third of all assessed species, from monkeys to rhino rays
Damian Carrington The Guardian 18 Jul 19;

From the tops of trees to the depths of the oceans, humanity’s destruction of wildlife is continuing to drive many species towards extinction, with the latest “red list” showing that a third of all species assessed are under threat.

The razing of habitats and hunting for bushmeat has now driven seven primates into decline, while overfishing has pushed two families of extraordinary rays to the brink. Pollution, dams and over-abstraction of freshwater are responsible for serious declines in river wildlife from Mexico to Japan, while illegal logging is ravaging Madagascar’s rosewoods, and disease is decimating the American elm.

The red list, produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the most authoritative assessment of the status of species. The list published on Thursday adds almost 9,000 new species, bringing the total to 105,732, though this is a fraction of the millions of species thought to live on Earth. Not a single species was recorded as having improved in status.

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Best of our wild blogs: 17 Jul 19

Sea slug overdose on Changi Creek shores
wild shores of singapore

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Wanted: Public feedback on how to reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions beyond 2030

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans may now give their suggestions on how to make Singapore cleaner and greener.

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) launched an online public consultation exercise on Tuesday (July 16) to get feedback from the public regarding its long-term strategy to reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions beyond 2030.

It would like to seek views on measures and actions that can be taken by the Government, businesses, households and individuals towards becoming a low carbon city, to minimise carbon emissions.

The NCCS, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Office, oversees Singapore’s domestic and international policies to tackle climate change.

It is working on a strategy which builds on Singapore’s ongoing effort to achieve its pledge under the Paris Agreement — where Singapore has committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.


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‘Time is running out’: Tackling climate change a priority for Singapore, says Masagos

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 17 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Facing the “loud and unmistakable” warning of climate change, Singapore needs to act, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Jul 17).

Speaking at the 2019 Partners for the Environment forum, Mr Masagos stressed that tackling climate change is a “pressing priority” and an “existential challenge” for Singapore.

“Time is running out,” he said. “Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued one of the starkest warnings from the scientific community – an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in global warming could occur as early as 2030.

“The warning is loud and unmistakable: We must act now or we may well face the ultimate threat to human survival ... the end of ‘life as usual’.”

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More mosquitoes or mutating virus? Experts have different views on dengue spike

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore could see more cases of dengue than usual in 2019 after a lull of a few years, but it is not clear what is causing the current spike, infectious diseases experts told CNA.

Dengue cases rose to 666 last week, which the National Environment Agency (NEA) said was the highest recorded in a week since a previous peak in January 2016, when the number of cases hit 637.

As of 3pm on Monday (Jul 15), there were 7,438 recorded cases of dengue in Singapore, about five times more than the 1,481 cases in the same period last year, NEA said. Five people have died from dengue this year.

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Indonesia: Forest fires seared through 30,477 thousand hectares area in July

Antara 16 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Forest fires had consumed a total of 30,477 hectares of area as of July 2019, Agus Wibowo, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), stated.

Forest and bush fires engulfed the provinces of Aceh, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and West Papua, Wibowo remarked here on Tuesday.

Forest fires devastated a total of 27,683 hectares of area in Riau, 2,274 hectares in West Kalimantan, 236 hectares in South Sumatra, 142 hectares in Aceh, 58 hectares in West Papua, 53 hectares in South Kalimantan, 27 hectares in Central Kalimantan, and four hectares in Jambi.

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Thirty-year study reveals cause of coral bleaching crisis

Brooks Hays UPI 16 Jul 19;

July 16 (UPI) -- Corals are disappearing across the world's oceans, and most scientists have pointed to warming water temperatures -- the result of climate change -- as the primary driver. But new research suggests nitrogen pollution is the main cause of coral bleaching in Florida.

The study, published this week in the journal Marine Biology, was compiled using three-decades worth of observational data collected at the Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys.

"Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area," lead study author Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, said in a news release.

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Reducing plastic: H&M to charge 10 cents each for shopping bags in all Singapore stores

NABILAH AWANG Today Online 15 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE — Fashion retailer H&M is joining the environmental battle to reduce single-use plastic bags and other packaging with a new charge of 10 cents each for shopping bags.

The initiative, which will start from July 25, is part of H&M’s “circular packaging strategy” to reduce the use of plastic in the long run, the firm said in a media release on Monday (July 15).

All proceeds collected from the charge for plastic and paper shopping bags will be donated to WWF Singapore’s Plastic ACTion (Pact) initiative — an industry-wide push for businesses to reduce plastic use by 2030.

As the first fashion retailer signatory to the Pact initiative, H&M said it is committed to eliminating unnecessary packaging, transitioning to reusable materials and using recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025.

Various firms in the food and beverage sector, as well as some hotels, have already signed on to the Pact initiative.

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Weekly dengue cases in Singapore hit highest level since January 2016

Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Dengue cases last week rose to 666, the highest recorded in a week since 2016, the National Environment Agency (NEA) confirmed on Tuesday (Jul 16) on its website.

The last time the weekly recorded numbers peaked was in January 2016, when there were 637 cases in one week.

As of 3pm on Monday (Jul 15), there were 7,483 recorded cases of dengue in Singapore in 2019.

This is about five times more than the 1,481 dengue cases in the same period last year, NEA said. The number is also more than twice the 3,285 cases for the whole of 2018, and the 2,772 cases for all of 2017.

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Malaysia: Making tiger protection a national priority

Nirooshini Madaven New Straits Times 15 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: WWF-Malaysia will launch a year-long Malayan Tigers Pledge during the Global Tiger Day celebration this year, in hopes to make protecting Malayan tigers a national priority.

Its executive director/CEO Sophia Lim said the Malayan Tiger Pledge would provide an avenue for Malaysians to symbolically support the establishment of a National Tiger Committee and garner the support of one million people by Global Tiger Day 2020 celebration.

She added that by actively including the civil society as a critical component of the effort, there would still be hope to protect our Malayan tigers for generations to come.

“We can ensure their survival if we act now instead of documenting their extinction,” said Lim at the Malayan Tiger Run 2019-Roar for Life!, launched today.

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Malaysia: Stiffer penalties to curb poaching in Terengganu

Rosli Zakaria New Straits Times 15 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The State Legislative Assembly today unanimously approved amendments to the Taman Negara National Park Enactment No. 6 of 1939, paving the way for the state government to introduce stiffer penalties against poachers.

The amendments, proposed by Ariffin Deraman (Pas-Alur Limbat) and seconded by Ir Saiful Azmi Suhaili (Pas-Kemasik), makes Terengganu the second state after Pahang to amend a similar Enactment with the same purpose.

It also follows the success of the National Parks and Wildlife Department in April when they arrested a group of poachers from Indochina during Ops Belang, aimed at monitoring the habitat of tigers and other protected wildlife.

Debating the motion, Hishamuddin Abdul Karim (Pas-Tepuh) said although the Fatwa Council decreed that poaching was haram (prohibited), it was not sufficient to stop illegal hunting activities.

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Malaysia is overflowing with waste and we’re running out of options

SIM LEOI LEOI The Star 16 Jul 19;

Since the Sg Kim Kim crisis broke and sickened almost 4,000 people with noxious fumes in Pasir Gudang, Johor, in March, Malaysians seem to have woken up to a new reality about waste.

It’s not just the river that runs through the maze of factories in the industrial area that is a dumpsite for tonnes of toxic chemicals; pretty much all of Malaysia has become a dumping ground for all sorts of wastes.

The media is littered with reports of illegal dumping, whether of plastic, chemical or construction waste, e-waste or even plain old rubbish.

One only has to go to illegal landfills in towns like Jengjarom, Kulim and Sg Petani to see the severity of the problem – and pictures of the mounds of trash in these small towns in Selangor and Kedah have made their way to international media.

How did it come to this?

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Indonesia: 127,977 Gunung Kidul inhabitants affected by drought

Antara 15 Jul 19;

Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - Drought has affected a total of 127,977 inhabitants of Gunung Kidul District, Yogyakarta Special Autonomous Region, and the dry spell is forecast to get worse.

"The dry spell leaves 15 sub-districts parched, and the number of affected villages has increased," Edy Basuki, head of the Gunung Kidul disaster mitigation office, said here on Monday.

Of the 15 sub-districts, the sub-districts of Girisubo, Paliyan, Rongkop, Panggang, and Tepus are the worst affected.

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Indonesia: Bali wins plastic-ban battle in Court, steps closer to being plastic-free island

Ni Komang Erviani The Jakarta Post 15 Jul 19;

Bali is on track to reduce plastic waste on the resort island after the Supreme Court rejected a judicial review that challenged the local administration’s limit on single-use plastic.

“[The verdict] means that the gubernatorial regulation that limits the use of single-use plastic has a strong legal position and can be applied across Bali,” Bali Governor Wayan Koster said Thursday.

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Thailand: Mounting dugong deaths cause alarm

APINYA WIPATAYOTIN Bangkok Post 15 Jul 19;

Two more dugongs were found dead on Sunday, one off the coast of Krabi and the other in Trang, bringing the death toll to five in four months, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, director of Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

In Krabi, the dead dugong was pulled out of the sea between Koh Pu and Koh Phi Phi. The other dead dugong was found washed ashore on Hat Samran beach in Trang's Hat Samran district.

The Krabi dugong was a 2.3-metre long male weighing about 400kg, said Woraphot Lomlin, head of Hat Noppharat Thara National Park-Phi Phi Archipelago in Krabi.

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Recycled electronics are turning Thailand into a 'dumping ground for hazardous waste'

Kathryn Diss ABC News 16 Jul 19;

Electronic waste from Western countries, including Australia, is flooding the shores of South-East Asian nations like Thailand, sparking fears of air and water pollution.

Global waste markets were upended in 2018 when China implemented tough new import restrictions on plastic and e-waste materials from foreign nations, forcing countries to find new markets.

Australia is among the countries taking advantage of the lax environmental regulations in Asia, redirecting trash China will no longer take to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

But the rapid shift in global markets has had a devastating flow-on effect to communities now dealing with a flood of contaminated waste.

In Thailand, scores of new sorting and recycling companies — many of them illegal and with Chinese shareholders — have sprung up in provinces surrounding the country's main port of Laem Chabang.

The agricultural district of Chachoengsao, east of Bangkok, is one of the provinces which became a dumping ground for e-waste.

Local villager Payao Charoonwong said she has lost her main water source as a result.

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When did Southeast Asia become a dumping ground for waste?

If Southeast Asian countries no longer accept waste from high-income countries, where will the waste go? City University of Hong Kong Dr Danny Marks tackles the tough questions behind our giant waste problem.
Danny Marks Channel NewsAsia 16 Jul 19;

HONG KONG: Seventy-five per cent of globally exported waste ends up in Asia. But since July 2017 — when China began to ban imports of plastic waste — Southeast Asia in particular has become a dumping ground for wealthier countries’ waste.

After China’s ban, the amount of plastic waste imported to countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia more than doubled.

As the amount of foreign waste accumulates and resentment grows among local populations, Southeast Asian governments are beginning to refuse to act as the world’s dumpsite.

Both Malaysia and the Philippines recently announced plans to return waste from Western countries that had improper labelling.

Malaysia and the Philippines have already returned waste to Spain and South Korea, respectively. Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam recently restricted plastic waste imports, with a complete ban planned for in the coming years.

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 15 Jul 19

20 Jul (Sat): Volunteer training for NParks Biodiversity Beach Patrol
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Ubin's Prickly Affair
Wan's Ubin Journal

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Singapore opens first seed bank to protect regional plant diversity against climate change

Junn Loh Channel NewsAsia 13 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first seed bank was officially launched on Saturday (Jul 13), as part of efforts to protect local and regional plant diversity against threats like climate change and habitat loss.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank, set up by the National Parks Board (NParks) in House 4 – the largest of the five colonial-style houses within the former Raffles College at Cluny Road – has a storage capacity of up to 25,000 plant species.

This is about half the number of seed plant species in the region and more than double of that currently found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which has around 10,000 species.

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'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

Ambitious export plan could generate billions and make Australia the centre of low-cost energy in a future zero-carbon world
Adam Morton The Guardian 14 Jul 19;

The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore’s future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change.

If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia’s energy industry and what the country sells to the world.

Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock.

Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state’s electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power.

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Malaysia: Pasir Gudang pollution victims lodge police report

The Star 14 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU (Bernama): More than 100 victims of the pollution in Pasir Gudang in March and June have lodged a police report here to urge the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the incidents.

Among the victims who lodged the reports were residents of Taman Pasir Putih, Kota Masai and Tanjung Puteri Resort.

The police report was made through the Resident Action Body On Environment Pollution Issues of Taman Pasir Putih at the Seri Alam Police Station at 11.11am Sunday (July 14).

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Malaysia: Gazetting of shark and ray species not enough, says expert

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government has gazetted four shark and two ray species as protected, but a conservationist says the move may not be enough.

Sabah Shark Protection Association president Aderick Chong said that while the move was good and timely, there were a lot of uncertainties on its effectiveness.

“I am wondering how the authorities will control what fishermen catch and what traders sell,” he said when contacted.

“How can they enforce this law when many a times, we cannot even identify the species of the shark after its head has been chopped off?” he said.

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Malaysia: Juvenile clouded leopard successfully rescued in Ranau

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A male juvenile clouded leopard, believed to have become separated from its mother, was rescued at a village in Ranau district early Saturday (July 13) morning.

The Sabah Wildlife Department's wildlife rescue unit (WRU) went to Kampung Perancangan on Friday evening, after a villager said he spotted the animal roaming around the village a couple of days before.

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Malaysia: 250 turtle eggs confiscated from Lahad Datu market

Hazsyah Abdul Rahman New Straits Times 13 Jul 19;

LAHAD DATU: Marine police have seized 250 turtle eggs from the Lahad Datu wet market here yesterday (July 12).

In the 10am operation, the eggs, worth RM500, were found in a bucket and a basket near the market's chicken slaughter station.

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Malaysia: Researchers find microplastics in sea salt

The Star 14 Jul 19;

THE increase in news reports of marine wildlife washing up dead on shores due to complications from ingesting plastic, brings to light the severity of plastic consumption, disposal of plastic and garbage, and pollution of our waterways and oceans.

The Great Pacific garbage patch so far is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. There are smaller accumulations scattered all around the world. If marine life has been affected, are humans at risk?

This is what piqued the interests of senior lecturers, Dr Jane Gew Lai Ti and Dr Yow Yoon Yen of the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology at Sunway University.

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Indonesia: Man arrested for trying to smuggle elephant tusks from Malaysia

Dyaning Pangestika The Jakarta Post 12 Jul 19;

The authorities in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, have arrested a 54-year-old man for allegedly trying to smuggle 10 elephant tusks from Malaysia.

Investigators from the Kalimantan Law Enforcement Center (Gakkum) foiled the smuggling attempt after receiving a tip-off from the Nunukan Customs and Excise Office on Tuesday.

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Indonesia: Living with drought

The Jakarta Post 13 Jul 19;

There is nothing new about the long droughts the country is now enduring. This nation has umpteen times proved its resilience in withstanding climate phenomena, that can have disastrous impacts on human beings and their environment. But inaction, assuming that it will eventually pass, is a mistake that will not only exacerbate the damage but also leave us unprotected when the disaster recurs in the future.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that the dry season may be drier and more intense this year than last year as a result of the El Nino phenomenon. The agency has classified West Java, Central Java, most parts of East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali and Nusa Tenggara as the regions most vulnerable to extreme drought, or more than 60 days without rain. Jakarta, Banten, Sumatra, Kalimantan and South Sulawesi are the second-most prone regions.

Although the dry season will only culminate in August, its impacts have already been felt in many areas. A number of regional governments have reported scarcity of clean water, declining supply of irrigation water and potential crop failure. Most recently, health authorities in Pacitan, East Java, reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A that infected more than 1,000 people as a result, albeit an indirect one, of drought.

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Indonesia: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

Antara 14 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru. Riau (ANTARA) - Tampan and Senapelan Sub-districts in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra Island, on Sunday were shrouded in haze coming from forest fire.

"Haze shrouds Panam (in Tampan sub-district)," Tanjung, a local inhabitant, said here on Sunday.

The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 38 hotspots on Sunday morning, an increase from 35 hotspots on the previous day, the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology and geophysics (BMKG) station, said.

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Vietnam: Urban heat islands make Vietnam’s cities hotter than ever

Vietnam News 12 Jul 19;

HCM CITY — Urban heat islands in HCM City and other large cities in Việt Nam are causing heat waves with some of the highest recorded temperatures ever in the country, affecting public health.

The Centre for Regional and Urban Studies said this year is forecast to be the hottest ever since temperatures began to be recorded in 1880.

In large cities like HCM City and Hà Nội, temperatures reached 40-50 degrees Celsius in March and April.

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Wildlife Traffickers Use Facebook, Instagram to Find Black-Market Buyers

‘If there were T-Rexes alive, they would be selling them,’ one researcher says
Kurt Wagner Bloomberg 11 Jul 19;

Ali Ahamed’s black satchel was overflowing with turtles, their tiny heads poking out. Just a few feet away, on the hotel room floor, roughly 20 larger turtles with dark brown shells were removed from black suitcases and flipped onto their backs to keep them from crawling under the couch.

Ahamed had arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and a popular stop for animal traffickers, from India a few days earlier to meet with his buyer, who had discovered the turtle broker through Facebook Inc.’s social network months earlier. The two negotiated a sale on Facebook Messenger. The 55 turtles in his bags included red-crowned roofed turtles, known for their brightly colored necks, and black spotted turtles with little yellow dots on their shells. Both species are endangered, and both have become popular pets in mainland China and Hong Kong.

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Best of our wild blogs: 12 Jul 19

14 Jul (Sun): Registration opens for Sisters Islands Intertidal walks in August 2019
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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Novel reusable hydrogel could harvest clean, desalinated water from humid air above sea surfaces

National University of Singapore 11 Jul 19;

The novel hydrogel developed by a team from the National University of Singapore, led by Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching (extreme right), can be used to harvest clean water from humid air above sea surfaces, just by using natural sunlight. Credit: National University of Singapore
Huge amounts of water evaporate from water surfaces such as reservoirs and the open sea each day. To address this issue, especially in water scarce areas, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found an innovative way to harvest water from the humid air above water surfaces.

The solution lies in a unique zinc-based water-absorbing hydrogel that was developed last year by a research team at the NUS Faculty of Engineering. This gel-like material is over eight times more absorbent than commercial drying agents and only natural sunlight is required to harvest water from the water-saturated hydrogel.

"Due to the hot climate in Singapore, about 45 million cubic metres of water is lost from reservoirs through evaporation each year. Our hydrogel can convert moisture present in humid air to water without the need for any external energy input. By harnessing the moisture-rich air that is commonly found above water surfaces, we can collect water, which would otherwise be lost to the environment, for different uses," said research team leader Assistant Professor Swee-Ching TAN, who is from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering.

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Indonesia to build country's longest bridge linking islands near Singapore

Reuters 11 Jul 19;

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to build a 7 km (4.35 mile) bridge to connect two islands in the Malacca Strait, close to Singapore, as part of efforts to develop industry and tourism in the area, the government said on Thursday.

The bridge connecting Batam and Bintan islands will cost an estimated 4 trillion rupiah ($284.35 million), the office of the cabinet secretary said in a statement on Thursday, and will be the longest in the Southeast Asian country.

The bridge aims to capitalize on expansion of Singapore’s Changi Airport with the development of a new Terminal 5, which will have transport connections to Bintan.

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Indonesia: Environment ministry intensifies land and forest fire control

Antara 11 Jul 19;

A technical evaluation has been done in each agency, local government, stakeholders (stakeholders), the community
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and related stakeholders are working together to intensify patrols to prevent and control land and forest fires (karhutla). "A technical evaluation has been done in each agency, local government, stakeholders (stakeholders), the community," said Director of Forest Fire and Land Control of KLHK Raffles B Panjaitan when contacted from Jakarta Thursday.

Manggala Agni fire-fighting brigades in North Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan, in addition to South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and North Sulawesi routinely conduct daily patrols in an effort to prevent and control forest and land fires.

The company is also involved in forest fire control efforts in accordance with Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation Number 32 of 2016.

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Indonesia: Dead whale washed ashore in East Java

Antara 11 Jul 19;

Lumajang, E Java (ANTARA) - An 11-meter-long whale was found dead after it was washed ashore on the Bambang Beach of Lumajang District, East Java Province, on Thursday.

The ill-fated whale carcass was first found by Siyo, a resident of Rekesan Hamlet in Bago Village, Pasirian Subdistrict, Lumajang District, while he was on his way to his rice field near the Bambang Beach area.

"From the distance, I saw something big and stinky. After approaching it, I know it was a whale carcass," Siyo said.

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Troubled waters: China-fuelled cruise boom sparks environment fears

AFP 11 Jul 19;

Cruises are enjoying a boom fuelled in part by hordes of Chinese tourists taking to the high seas, but green groups warn a wave of hulking new liners may cause environmental devastation.

Gone are the days when cruising was the preserve of retirees, who would while away the hours lounging in deckchairs, playing bingo or taking part in formal dinner-dances.

Modern liners resemble floating, futuristic cities capable of carrying thousands of passengers, where robot bartenders serve drinks and passengers can enjoy hi-tech entertainment.

Many of the new, more sophisticated ships aim to appeal to the rapidly growing Chinese cruise market -- now the second-biggest in the world after the US -- and are choosing cities in the Asian giant as their home ports.

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Australia: Great Barrier Reef hard coral cover close to record lows

Coral bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish and cyclones reduced coverage to 10% to 30% over past five years
Adam Morton The Guardian 11 Jul 19;

Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is near record lows in its northern stretch and in decline in the south, surveys by government scientists have found.

A report card by the government’s Australian Institute of Marine Science says hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% – a slight increase on last year but close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985.

A series of “disturbances” – coral bleaching linked to rising water temperatures, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones – have caused hard coral cover to decline to between 10% and 30% across much of the world heritage landmark over the past five years.

Mike Emslie, the institute’s acting head of long-term monitoring, said the report included glimmers of hope: individual reefs, including those on the outer shelf in the Whitsunday Islands, were found to have lively communities and tiny juvenile corals were discovered across the 2,300km reef system. The density of juvenile coral suggested recovery was possible if there were not further disturbances.

He said it indicated there was some resilience in the system but added: “The important thing is the absence of further disturbances. If we have more coral bleaching events all bets are off.”

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Best of our wild blogs: 11 Jul 19

Youth for Climate Fest 2019
Green Drinks Singapore

Dolphins, sea turtles (Jan-June 2019)
wild shores of singapore

An increase in environmental awareness? Public outcry over poaching of giant clams
Mei Lin NEO

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Malaysia, Johor: DOE acting on river pollution complaints

The Star 11 Jul 19;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor Department Of Environment (DOE) has received eight complaints of pollution in a river in Ulu Tiram since last year.

Johor local government, urban well-being and environmental committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said following complaints about Sungai Kopok, the department carried out inspections.

“Among complaints received include the change in the colour of the river water, which turned darker and emitted a stench.

“There were also claims of dead fishes in the river,” he said in reply to S. Gopalakrishnan ( PH – Tiram) at the Johor state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar here.

Tan said initial investigations by the department found that the pollution was due to the discharge of industrial effluents from palm oil, oleochemical, biodiesel, soap-based and food-based companies in the area.

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Indonesia: Weather modification likely to prevent Rp3 trillion loss

Antara 10 Jul 19;

How much is the state loss due to the harvest failure? The estimation is up to Rp3 trillion, and hence we must find a solution to address the drought, and one way out is by making artificial rain
Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - The Agency for Technology Assessment and Application (BPPT) will propose the use of weather modification technology to deal with the severe dry season that could inflict a loss worth Rp3 trillion in the agricultural field.

"We are trying to calculate (loss) caused by harvest failure. This is just a proposal. How much is the state loss due to the harvest failure? The estimation is up to Rp3 trillion, and hence we must find a solution to address the drought, and one way out is by making artificial rain," Hammam Riza, head of BPPT, said.

Many farming areas in Java, Bali and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) have been affected by the extreme dry spell.

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Massive shark fin haul into Hong Kong dodges global shipping bans

Farah Master Reuters 10 Jul 19;

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Two global shipping firms that have vowed not to transport shark fin products inadvertently moved a 40-foot container of the controversial delicacy from Nicaragua to Hong Kong this year, both companies told Reuters.

The shipment highlights the challenges global industry faces in monitoring the trade that results in the killing of more than 70 million sharks a year, and has pushed more than a quarter of species into extinction according to World Wildlife Fund.

The fins were first loaded onto a vessel called Laura, which is operated by Ocean Network Express (ONE), in Nicaragua in March and then transhipped in Manzanillo, Mexico, onto Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) vessel Natasha to Hong Kong, according to cargo records seen by Reuters and confirmed by the firms.

The shipment arrived in Hong Kong in April and was first flagged to Reuters by conservation group OceansAsia, which saw bags of shark fin being unloaded on a road in the city’s industrial western district.

Representatives of both ONE and MSC told Reuters the shipment took place but said the contents had not been declared as shark fin.

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Thousands of wild animals seized in smuggling crackdown

Nearly 600 arrests in Interpol operation that nets primates, big cats, birds and reptiles
Agence France-Presse The Guardian 10 Jul 9;

Police across the globe have seized thousands of wild animals, including primates and big cats, and arrested nearly 600 suspects in a crackdown on illegal wildlife smuggling, Interpol has said.

Covering 109 countries, the operation was carried out in coordination with the World Customs Organization (WCO), with investigators homing in on trafficking routes and crime hotspots, the international policing body said.

Operation Thunderball, based in Singapore, was aimed at transnational crime networks seeking to profit from wildlife smuggling activities. It was the third such Interpol mission in recent years.

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Best of our wild blogs: 10 Jul 19

Great Expectations
The Hantu Blog

Scaly-breasted Munia enjoying Algae
Singapore Bird Group

Protesting for the planet: Is climate activism alive in Singapore?

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Spot a python? Just leave it alone, advise wildlife groups

Pythons are a natural control for the rat population, say wildlife experts.
Cindy Co Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Waking up to the screams of his wife and maid, Mr Melvin Yap rushed to them, only to discover a snake coiled around the cage of his pet bird.

It was a reticulated python about 1.5m long - one of the most common species of snakes found in Singapore.

Although the incident occurred about two years ago, Mr Yap still has vivid memories of the snake.

“It was quite docile,” said Mr Yap, recalling how he calmly used a stick to coax the python into a plastic bag.

“Unless you know what you’re doing, the best thing is to avoid it. (But) I knew what kind of snake it was.”

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Reusable water bottles not in NDP 2019 funpacks due to high production cost

Channel NewsAsia 8 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Reusable water bottles were considered for this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) funpack, but this was not implemented due to the lack of suppliers who could do so at an affordable cost.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen revealed this in a written answer to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Louis Ng on Monday (Jul 8).

Mr Ng had asked whether a reusable water bottle could be provided for the NDP funpack instead of a single-use plastic bottle.

"Drinking water in reusable bottles was considered but not implemented as there were a lack of suppliers which can do so at an affordable cost," said Dr Ng.

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Malaysia: 26 investigation papers opened on illegal waste dumping in Johor

The Star 8 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU (Bernama): The Johor Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp) has opened 26 investigation papers for the illegal dumping of solid waste since 2018.

Its director Cairul Hisham Jalaluddin said 12 companies had been charged, including three as of Monday (July 8).

"We are completing the investigation papers against the remaining 14 companies," he told reporters when met at the Sessions Court here.

On the cases that were brought to court today, he said three companies were involved, adding that all pleaded guilty to the charges and were fined a total of RM45,000.

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Indonesia: Fire razes 50 hectares of peatland area in Aceh

Antara 9 Jul 19;

Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A fire scorched 50 hectares (ha) of peatland area in West Aceh District, Aceh Province.

"We have continued to make attempts to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to a wider area," Mashuri, coordinator of the Operation Control Center of the West Aceh Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), stated here on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the fire razed a 45-ha peatland area located in Johan Pahlawan and West Woyla Sub-district, and on the next day, it extended to a five-ha area located in Alue Peunyareng in Meureubo Sub-district.

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Indonesia: Dry spells spread to wider Indonesian areas, affect farming

Antara 8 Jul 19;

Earlier this year, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reminded the regional authorities to step up their vigilance over possible forest fires and droughts as this year's dry season was forecast to be drier than that of the previous year.

The extreme dry season has affected several areas since May and is expected to last until September, with the condition likely to peak in August. In the beginning, dry spells were reported mostly on Java Island. Currently, drought has cast a pall over 100 districts and cities in the Aceh, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provinces, the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry's data stated.

"Most parts of Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara have not received rains for over 30 days. Drought has affected some 100 districts and cities," Sarwo Edhy, director general for agriculture infrastructure and facilities at the Agriculture Ministry, revealed on July 8, 2019, following a coordinating meeting to discuss mitigation efforts.

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Indonesia sends rubbish back to Australia and says it's too contaminated to recycle

Indonesian officials say containers of paper contaminated by electronic waste, used cans and plastic bottles
Kate Lamb and Adam Morton The Guardian 8 Jul 19;

Indonesia says it will immediately send eight containers of household rubbish back to Australia after inspectors declared the material too contaminated to be recycled.

It is the latest in a series of announcements by south-east Asian nations that they will not be dumping grounds for overseas waste.

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Indonesia: Farmer arrested for alleged plan to sell Sumatran tiger pelts

The Jakarta Post 8 Jul 19;

Mount Leuser National Park rangers have arrested a farmer, identified only as P, from Langkat regency, North Sumatra, for his alleged role in the trade of Sumatran tiger parts.

The rangers confiscated three tiger pelts and a tiger skull.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement head of the North Sumatra-Aceh office, Haluanto Ginting, said the suspect was arrested on July 1 after the rangers went undercover as a buyer of tiger organs at the Sogong crossing, Marike district, Langkat regency.

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