wildsingapore news will no longer be updated

It's been more than a decade of daily updates, I would like to have a rest.

It's now easy to build your own news feed, and to gather the info you need from social media.

So it's a good time for me to stop the updates.

Besides, I sense that very few people really read the updates...


Update 16 Sep: Thank you to the about 10 people who wrote to me about wildsingapore news. It really means a lot to me to hear from you. All these years, I've not heard from subscribers. Glad at least a few people have been reading it.

If you would like to keep up with marine issues, do consider subscribing to the Celebrating Singapore Shores blog or the facebook page.

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Best of our wild blogs: 9 Sep 19

Butterfly of the Month - September 2019
Butterflies of Singapore

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (06 Sep 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Stretch of Kallang River gets $86 million upgrade, with flood protection and water features

Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - A 1.8km stretch along Kallang River has received a facelift, to make it not only more attractive, but also a better defence against the onslaught of rain.

The four-year, $86-million project called ABC Waters @ Kallang River is meant to boost flood protection for residents in the area, as well as to strengthen the canal's structural integrity.

With the canal wider and deeper, drainage capacity has been increased by 80 per cent.

The drainage improvement works by national water agency PUB at Singapore's longest river was completed recently and unveiled on Saturday (Sept 7), at an event attended by Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MPs Ng Eng Hen and Chong Kee Hiong. Dr Ng is also Defence Minister.

Previously, this part of the canal, between Bishan and Braddell roads, was plain concrete and did not have such water features.

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PUB releases thousands of fish in Pandan Reservoir to combat midges

Channel NewsAsia 6 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB has released "tens of thousands" of fish into Pandan Reservoir, the latest measure employed to try to control the midge pupae population, it said on Friday (Sep 6).

The release of the guppies, mollies and swordtails into the reservoir was done in a controlled manner that does not affect its ecosystem, PUB said in a Facebook post.

Midges, which are commonly mistaken for mosquitoes, are small insects which exist in and near water bodies.

"While these midges do not bite or spread diseases, they can be a nuisance when present in large numbers," said PUB.

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Taking the climate fight beyond straws and tote bags — individual actions that matter

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — In a country where most people do not think twice about buying new clothes, Mr Leow Yee Shiang has not bought a single piece of clothing in the past two years.

The 31-year-old civil servant practises what he calls a “minimalist lifestyle”. He rarely shops, and has only bought four items for himself this year – a water bottle, socks, lenses for his sunglasses and a motorcycle plate number.

What sparked the decision? Mr Leow said it happened early last year when he was packing his belongings for his return to Singapore from Australia, where he had been living with his wife for two years because of work.  

“I got a bit fed-up as I was packing… There were many boxes. I got so angry at myself that I just started throwing away things,” he recalled. Among some of the items which he threw out included his wedding photo and its frame, as well as the love letters he got from his wife when they were dating. It means that he can now “focus on cherishing” their relationship, he said with a smile. 

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Wasteful practices of affluence must stop

Let’s consider a set of new 3Rs for environmental sustainability – namely, reinvention, recalibration and reward, says Nominated Member of Parliament Professor Lim Sun Sun.
Lim Sun Sun Channel NewsAsia 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: One of my favourite Instagram accounts is that of Tabao Girl’s. This environmentally minded young woman meticulously photographs the efforts she makes daily to reduce her use of disposables.

On most days, she succeeds remarkably with her inspiring arsenal of reusable cups, containers, and cutlery, and enjoys her take-away food like the rest of us.

But one day in July this year, she recounted in a post her distressing experience at a bakery, while waiting behind another customer: “…when he was done paying, I was almost going to cry. First the 13 buns, each in 1 plastic bag of its own. Then he wanted 6 buns in 1 bag, and 7 buns in another – and he wanted them double-bagged. Then he asked the cashier to give him 1 large bag to put everything into. In 1 bakery trip for 13 buns, there was a total of 18, EIGHTEEN PLASTIC BAGS used in 1 single transaction.”

I share her distress when I witness such scenes in bakeries, hawker centres and supermarkets.

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Biodegradable plastic alternatives not necessarily better for Singapore, say experts

Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 9 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: You might think that switching from single use plastics to biodegradable plastic alternatives is good for the environment but in Singapore, there are “no effective differences”, experts said.

They often end up in the same place - the incinerator, said Associate Professor Tong Yen Wah from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Biodegradable plastic wastes make a difference to the environment only when they are buried in landfills, he added.

“In these situations, these plastic bags can degrade faster as compared to a regular polyethylene plastic bag and will not affect the environment as much. Overall for Singapore, it might even be more expensive to incinerate biodegradable plastics," said Assoc Prof Tong.He explained that this is because some biodegradable options take more resources to produce, which make them more expensive.

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Malaysia, Johor: Land reclamation may be behind mass fish deaths

VENESA DEVI The Star 7 Sep 19;

What went wrong?: Some of the dead fish found along Pantai Lido.

JOHOR BARU: Land reclamation along Pantai Lido could potentially be the main cause of mass fish deaths in the area.

State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the Department of Environment (DoE), along with the Fisheries Department, were still investigating the matter and not ruling out land reclamation as the contributing factor.

“The DoE visited the location on Thursday upon receiving complaints about the occurrence and found that the dissolved oxygen level of the water was very low at 1.2mg/l,” he said.

“The hot weather and disturbance of the water flow here due to land reclamation are believed to be contributing factors, but we are still investigating the matter.”

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Malaysia: Two men nabbed, over 600 turtle eggs seized

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 8 Sep 19;

KUCHING: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) enforcement team nabbed two men for selling sea turtle eggs at Pasar Tamu Kubah Ria on Saturday.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the first suspect, aged 65, was caught at 9.45am and 214 eggs were seized.

“When our team returned to the market for another round of patrol in the afternoon, they arrested a 26-year-old man with 438 sea turtle eggs. We had lodged a police report for further investigation,” he said in a statement today.

On the same day, another team raided a stall at Bandar Riyal market in Kota Samarahan for selling wild boar meat.

A 62-year-old male suspect was nabbed and 17 packets of the wildlife meat were seized.

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Malaysia: Sharks and rays still in demand in Sabah for their meat

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 8 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is keen to protect sharks and rays in the state’s waters but the problem is the two species of marine life have been a staple food for some locals.

A fishmonger of 35 years at the wet market here, who declined to be named, said due to demand from consumers, fisherman continue to net the two species.

“I am aware of the move to ban the catching of sharks and rays to prevent both species from becoming extinct. But some people in Sabah including fishermen still consume the meat,” he said, adding sharks and rays were sold between RM8 and RM12 per kilogramme.

He however said that the catch involving the two marine species was far less nowadays, compared to three decades ago.

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Malaysia: Govt to build elephant sanctuary in Perak

The Star 8 Sep 19;

TEMERLOH: The government will set up an elephant sanctuary in an area spanning 100ha in Perak at a cost of about RM20mil.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the move was part of an ongoing effort to conserve elephants, which were increasingly threatened due to human-elephant conflicts.

He said the new sanctuary would be a new addition to the Sungai Deka Elephant Sanctuary in Terengganu and the Johor Elephant Sanctuary in Kota Tinggi.

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Malaysia: Sarawak haze worsens; visibility in Kuching down to 1.2km

Goh Pei Pei New Straits Times 6 Sep 19;

KUCHING: The haze in Sarawak worsened today, with visibility in the state capital here reduced to 1.2km.

Five other areas are also shrouded in smoke and recorded Air Pollution Index (API) readings of “unhealthy” as of 9am.

Sri Aman registered the highest API of 166, followed by Miri at 133, Kuching at 125, Sibu at 123 and Sarikei at 109.

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Malaysia officially complains over haze as Indonesia forests burn

Reuters New Straits Times 6 Sep 19;

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s science ministry will urge Indonesia to take immediate action to fight haze, it said on Friday, as Jakarta detected a spike in the number of hot spots indicating worsening forest fires across the archipelago.

During the dry season, Indonesian farmers use fire to clear land, often for palm and pulp plantations, but the flames can rage out of control to produce a choking haze that spreads to neighbours like Singapore and Malaysia.

A mild El Nino weather pattern this year has aggravated the impact of fires, with the number of hot spots rising to the highest since devastating fires in 2015.

In a statement, Malaysia’s ministry of science, technology and innovation said it would “send a diplomatic note to Indonesia, so immediate action will be taken to put out the fires and prevent repeated burning.”

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Indonesia: Air-polluting forest fire hotspots in Riau reach 154

Antara 7 Sep 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Pekanbaru meteorology station reported that 448 hotspots were observed throughout Sumatra Island, comprising 154 hotspots in Riau Province’s eight districts on Saturday morning, depleting the air quality in parts of the province.

Of the total figure, 60 were spotted in Pelalawan District, 42 in Indragiri Hulu, 34 in Indragiri Hilir, six in Meranti, five in Kuansing, three in Bengkalis, and two respectively in Kampar and Rokan Hilir, Ahmad Agus Widodo, analyst at the Pekanbaru meteorology station, remarked here on Saturday.

At least 97 of the 154 hotspots had developed into firespots, strongly suggestive of forest fires.

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Philippines: Whale shark population increases - WWF

Business Mirror 9 Sep 19;

More than 100 new ‘butanding’ (whale shark), including juveniles, spotted in Donsol, the highest number in several years.

DONSOL, Sorsogon—One-hundred-four new butanding (whale shark) individuals have been identified in Ticao Pass off the coast of Donsol, Sorsogon, between January and June 2019, according to a report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.

Whale shark, classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on their Red List of Threatened Species, is a filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest living fish species in the world.

Each whale shark can be identified based on the unique pattern of spots behind its gills, which serves as a “fingerprint” for identification. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two whale sharks have the same spot pattern.

The addition of these new sightings puts the total number of whale shark individuals spotted in Donsol at 676 since the monitoring began in 2007, the WWF said in its news release.

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Stranded whales: Numbers on the rise around UK shores

Helen Briggs BBC News 6 Sep 19;

The number of whales and dolphins washing up around the UK coastline has risen, according to new figures.

In 2017 alone, 1,000 animals were stranded - more than in any year since records began.

A total of 4,896 whales, dolphins and porpoises died on beaches between 2011 and 2017 - up 15% on the previous seven years.

Scientists found a number of causes for the deaths, including infectious diseases, fishing and plastic.

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Best of our wild blogs: 6 Sep 19

Changi Beach
Offshore Singapore

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100 hawksbill turtles released into the sea after rare hatching on Sentosa

JUSTIN ONG Today Online 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — One hundred newly-hatched hawksbill turtles were released into the sea from Tanjong Beach in Sentosa on Wednesday morning (Sept 4). 

According to a Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) spokesperson, the eggs were hatched on Tuesday at approximately 10pm. SDC carried out measurements and checks on the hatchlings before they were released into the sea at about 7am on Wednesday. 

The hawksbill turtle nest was discovered at Tanjong Beach on July 14, said SDC.

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Accident with boar, chain collision cause jam in Mandai Road

Clement Yong Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - An accident with a wild boar and a separate chain collision involving four vehicles caused a major jam along Mandai Road on Thursday morning (Sept 5).

The accidents happened one after the other along the same stretch of Mandai Road towards the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) at 6.50am, causing traffic to slow for more than an hour during the peak period.

Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that the wild boar had been killed by an oncoming vehicle, and the motorist left the scene after the accident.

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FairPrice to charge for plastic bags, McDonald’s to stop providing plastic straws at some outlets

Clement Yong and Melissa Heng Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - Supermarket giant NTUC FairPrice and fast-food chain McDonald’s have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon.

Both companies announced on Wednesday (Sept 4) that they will be trialling initiatives to cut down on plastic bags and plastic packaging.

NTUC FairPrice will start charging 10 cents and 20 cents for plastic bags at seven outlets in a month-long trial, starting from Sept 16.

The "No Plastic Bag" trial will encourage shoppers to use their own bags, FairPrice said in a statement on Wednesday.

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MPs question Government’s stand on single-use plastics as Parliament passes new sustainability Bill

Ang Hwee Min and Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: The issue of single-use plastics was discussed in Parliament on Wednesday (Sep 4), with some Members of Parliament (MP) reiterating a call for plastic bag charges.

This came as MPs debated the Resource Sustainability Bill, which was passed on Wednesday.

The Bill introduces regulations to reduce food, packaging and electronic waste, as Singapore’s only landfill at Pulau Semakau is expected to run out of space by 2035.

It will be mandatory for large food waste generators to segregate and treat their food waste by 2021.

Producers of regulated electrical and electronic products will be responsible for collecting and recycling e-waste like mobile phones, computers and large appliances through an extended "producer responsibility" framework that will be launched by 2021.

A similar framework for packaging waste will also be introduced. Companies that use packaging, like importers and supermarkets, will be required to submit an annual report on the amount of packaging in their products and their packaging waste reduction plans from 2021.

MPs lauded the Bill as a step in the right direction, but some felt that more could be done to tackle the excessive use of single-use plastics.

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BCA's green building innovation grant gets S$20 million top-up

Kelly Wong Channel NewsAsia 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: The built environment sector received a S$20 million boost to go green on Wednesday (Sep 4).

This was announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the opening of the inaugural International Built Environment Week (IBEW), organised by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Mr Wong said that the top-up of the funds will encourage more collaboration between the built environment industry and the research community. This is to support BCA’s drive toward Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings, which BCA has said will be the “next generation of green buildings".

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Malaysia: Elephants losing its tusks to live

Roy Goh New Straits Times 5 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Elephants in Sabah are evolving to lose their tusks to survive, a phenomenon that is also happening in other parts of the world.

Sightings of such tusk-less bull Bornean pygmy elephants are getting more common and a senior veterinarian believes more research needs to be done on the phenomenon and its implications.

Sabah Wildlife department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said it used to be rare, seeing a tusk-less male, but these days it's becoming common.

"I have been involved in trans-locating elephants for more than 20 years and other senior colleagues dealt with the animal longer, more than 30 years, and now, we see this phenomenon becoming more common.

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Malaysia: Rare Bornean banteng falling victim to traps

KRISTY INUS The Star 5 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The banteng, the wild cattle of Borneo, are not just being poached but increasingly turning up as bycatch in snares set for other animals, say conservation groups.

In a joint statement, the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) said the population of the animal, estimated to number fewer than 500 in the state, was already facing fragmentation due to deforestation, infrastructure development and human activity.

“Besides being targeted for bush meat, the mammal has often become a bycatch in snares meant for smaller animals like wild boar and deer,” said DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens yesterday.

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Malaysia: Illegal wildlife trade rampant here


PETALING JAYA: From urban centres to deep jungles, the illegal wildlife trade is a multimillion-ringgit business spread across the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

It leaves a trail of cruelty starting from the forest – to the longhouses, markets in cities and towns, to certain “pet shops” and then onwards to the homes of the well-heeled, both within and out of Malaysia.

Some of these rare wildlife are endangered and protected under the law, and the most popular animals include macaques, hornbills, rare parrots, colourful birds, rare reptiles, baby sunbears, deer, tortoises, leopard cats and so on.

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Malaysia: Melaka grappling with invasion of Indonesian wild pigs

R.S.N.MURALI The Star 5 Sep 19;

MELAKA: On top of the problem of immigrants making their way illegally into Melaka via the strait, the state is currently facing another trans-boundary issue – the invasion of wild boars from Indonesia.

Melaka Agriculture, Agro-Based, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Norhizam Hassan Baktee said wild boars were excellent swimmers, but the state never expected them to cross the narrow Strait of Malacca from Sumatera in search of new habitats here.

“The sea-borne invasion of wild boars leaves us in despair as the animal population is increasing in Melaka.

“The mystical island of Pulau Besar here has witnessed widespread damage from the ‘migration' of dozens of these wild boars, including piglets, ” he said on Thursday (Sept 5).

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Malaysia: Penang expected to be hit by prolonged hazy conditions

N. TRISHA The Star 5 Sep 19;

Stifling situation: Motorists driving on the Penang Bridge that is barely visible.

GEORGE TOWN: The public have been told to wear masks while outdoors as the state is expected to be hit by prolonged hazy conditions.

The advice came from state environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

“The haze is here to stay as we are approaching the inter-monsoon period before the north-east monsoon starts in October.

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Indonesia: Satellite imagery suggests 949 hotspots in West Kalimantan

Antara 4 Sep 19;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The LAPAN satellite image data showed 949 hotspots were spotted in West Kalimantan on Sept 3-4, 2019, a notable surge, from 15 hotspots on Sept 2-3, according to the Supadio-Pontianak meteorology station.

Of the total, 433 hotspots were found in Ketapang District, 123 in Sintang, 102 in Sanggau, 87 in Sekadau, 61 in North Kayong, 49 in Landak, 41 in Melawi, 29 in Kubu Raya, 14 in Bengkayang, six in Kapuas Hulu and Sambas, Erika Mardiyanti, head of the meteorology station, stated here on Wednesday.

West Kalimantan Deputy Governor Ria Norsan noted that the provincial administration had issued Government Regulation No. 39 of 2019 on Prevention and Mitigation of Forest Fires to curtail slash and burn practices.

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Best of our wild blogs: 4 Sep 19

LTA releases CRL EIA Phase II report
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Terumbu Raya is amazing
wild shores of singapore

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Through nature reserve or around? Residents, nature groups stick to guns on Cross Island Line paths

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — Residents who may have to live with construction work at their doorstep are not letting up in opposing the proposal for the future Cross Island Line to skirt the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Nature enthusiasts, for their part, are also sticking to their guns, repeating their objections to the MRT line passing underneath the nature reserve, saying that this could damage fragile ecosystems and harm wildlife.

These entrenched positions remain despite assurances this week that both alignment options being explored for Singapore’s eighth MRT line were feasible.

The latest assessment report found that the environmental impact of either tunnelling through the nature reserve or going around it could be “adequately managed” with comprehensive mitigating measures and monitoring plans.

On Monday (Sept 2), the authorities gazetted for public inspection and feedback the second stage of a report assessing the environmental impact of building the line. The Government has not decided on which option to take.

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Land reclamation projects to combat climate change can be funded from past reserves: Lawrence Wong

NG JUN SEN Today Online 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — To finance the fight against climate change, smaller-scale infrastructure such as flood barriers can be funded from the Government’s Budget each year, while “long-lived major” infrastructure — including sea walls — could involve borrowing, said Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3).

When land reclamation is involved, the costs will come from Singapore’s past reserves and the value of the reclaimed land after it is sold in the future will be fully returned to the reserves, said Mr Wong, who is also the National Development Minister.

“The reclamation of land is in essence a conversion of past reserves — from financial assets to state land. This use is not a draw on past reserves,” said Mr Wong, adding that this arrangement is part of the Reserves Protection Framework agreed between the Government and the President, whose constitutional role is to safeguard the national reserves.

Mr Wong was answering a parliamentary question by Associate Professor Walter Theseira, who had asked about the extent to which this policy to fund land reclamation will be applied to the S$100 billion climate change costs announced in this year’s National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

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Trash Talk: A toxic trash pile grows when gadgets become waste — in a year or less

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 4 Sep 19;

With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the third instalment, we look at the often underestimated problem of electronic waste, and how consumerist lifestyles are adding to the toxic pile. Click to read the first and second instalment of the series.

SINGAPORE — The next time you are about to throw out your handphone to get a new model, perhaps ask yourself first: How many gorillas died for this?

What is the link, you might ask? Well, the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla has lost 77 per cent of its population in the last 20 years, partly due to the mining of minerals used in mobile phones. 

The main mineral mined is coltan, a type of ore used in mobile phones and other electronic devices such as laptops, digital cameras and tablets.

And despite the hard labour (often in slave-like conditions) involved in mining this mineral, and the devastating impact that this has on the natural habitats of various wild creatures, we throw aside our devices each time a new version comes along.

Experts cautioned that the rollout of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks could also spell the demise of 4G gadgets, and see them ending up on the trash heap.

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Man tries to smuggle 2 hedgehogs through Woodlands Checkpoint

Channel NewsAsia 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: Two live hedgehogs were found hidden in a Singapore-registered car at the Woodlands Checkpoint by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers on Saturday (Aug 31).

The animals were wrapped in camouflage netting and hidden in the spare tyre compartment of the vehicle.

ICA said a 42-year-old Singaporean man was referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for further investigation and that the hedgehogs are now under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“Animals like hedgehogs are not suitable as pets as they may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape.

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Malaysia: Nearly 150,000 to be affected by month-long scheduled water cuts in three districts in Johor

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 3 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: The lack of rainfall and the ongoing hot weather in the last two weeks have caused the water level at the Machap Dam to fall to critical level, disrupting supply to almost 150,000 consumers in three areas in Johor.

In a statement on Tuesday (Sept 3), the National Water Services Commission (Span) said the condition at the dam had forced water supply company, SAJ Ranhill, to activate scheduled cuts for about a month.

"Following this, it is estimated that a total of 149,550 consumers from 29,910 accounts around Simpang Renggam, Layang-Layang and Pontian Utara would be affected from Monday until Oct 2.

"To ensure that clean water supply is optimised under limited resource conditions, Ranhill SAJ will arrange to supply water for 36 hours, followed by the next 36 hours without water," said the statement.

Span also pointed out that besides Machap, three other dams in Johor were also at critical levels - the Lebam dam, Upper Layang dam and Pulai dam.

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Malaysia: Johor MB - No open burning, please

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 2 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal (pic) has urged the public, in particular, farmers, not to conduct any open burning during the current hot spell.

He said the public must understand the difficulties faced by the Fire and Rescue Department to put out fires during the dry season.

For instance, he said firemen had been battling a forest fire in Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah, for more than 12 days.

“The area is mostly peat soil where the underground heat can spread the fire quickly but (it) takes a long time to be doused, which is why we hope people will not do any open burning, ” he said after officiating the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration yesterday.

A total of 140 firemen along with personnel from other agencies have been working round the clock to douse the fire, which is believed to have been caused by the hot and dry weather since Aug 21.

They have been using “total flooding” as well as “fire break” techniques to prevent the fire from spreading.

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Malaysia: Leopard cat found killed in Kuala Baram forest fire

Stephen Then The Star 3 Sep 19;

MIRI: Firefighters dousing the remains of forests ravaged by wildfires in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak have uncovered dead animals, including a leopard cat.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department said Bomba firefighters and voluntary firefighters from land developer Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd were dousing burning ambers near the Industrial Training Institute and Hamidah Orphanage, when they found the dead animals.

Miri fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the discovery was made on Tuesday morning (Sept 3).

He said he had informed the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

"The feedback I got from the SFC is that the dead wildlife is possibly a leopard cat.

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Indonesia: Wildfires in Riau force wild elephants to flee habitats

Antara 3 Sep 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Few wild elephants fled their habitats, entering residential areas after wildfires spread through the Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau Province, for the past week, the Natural Resources Conservation Office (BBKSDA) stated here, Tuesday.

Riau BBKSDA Chief Andi Hansen Siregar remarked that the national park's rangers had conducted monitoring of the movement of wild Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) from the rainforest to Bongkal Malang Village in Indragiri Hulu District.

Following a tip-off from villagers, two wild Sumatran elephants were spotted roaming around the plantation areas.

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Indonesia: North Sumatra tapir to be returned to wild after giving birth

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 3 Sep 19;

North Sumatra authorities have postponed a plan to release a female Sumatran tapir into the wild after discovering that she is pregnant.

The tapir was previously rescued from a plantation in Asahan regency.

After finding out that the tapir was pregnant, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) decided to transfer the mammal to the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park until it gave birth.

North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said the agency would ultimately release the female tapir into the Dolok Surungan wildlife reserve, which is a natural habitat for tapirs.

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Best of our wild blogs: 3 Sep 19

Seeking Singaporean Youth Voices on Biodiversity!
Psychedelic Nature

Ridge Walk – five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges (Sep – Nov 2019)

Labrador shore still alive
wild shores of singapore

The Fruit Feeders
Butterflies of Singapore

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Explainer: How 2 proposed tunnelling routes for Cross Island Line will affect wildlife, housing areas

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — The authorities are inviting public feedback on two proposed construction choices for the future Cross Island Line. 

This is after the second stage of a report assessing the environmental impact of building Singapore’s eighth MRT line was gazetted on Monday (Sept 2). Gazetting allows public inspection of the report and feedback on its findings.

The Cross Island Line — which is set to run from Changi to Jurong and is expected to be opened in 2029 with 12 stations first — can either run directly under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve or go around it. It would take a longer route and be more costly to build if it skirts around the reserve.

However, both are feasible options when done with comprehensive mitigating measures and monitoring plans, the latest environmental-impact assessment found.

How will it affect the nature reserve or residents living around the train line? Here is a rundown of the key points to note.

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Pandan Reservoir midge outbreak: Residents liken it to a 'horror movie', says Member of Parliament

TESSA OH Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — Residents living around the Pandan Reservoir said that the recent outbreak of midges in the area is like being “in a horror movie”, Member of Parliament (MP) Foo Mee Har said on Monday (Sept 2).

Describing it as the “most severe” outbreak that residents have witnessed, Ms Foo, MP for the West Coast Group Representative Constituency (GRC), added that the midges stick to clothes and hair, and residents have found swarms of them in corridors, lifts, bus stops and in their homes.

Responding to questions from three MPs, including Ms Foo, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said that the sudden spike in midge activity can be attributed to the recent spell of unusually hot weather, which has hastened the growth process of the midges.

“With climate change, we will experience more extreme weather, which will have a corresponding response from nature,” he said.

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Commentary: Climate action is our generation’s 1965

Winning our climate war is a moral and economic imperative. The green lining is that the new climate economy being birthed creates good jobs while saving our world, says CEO of PhilanthropyWorks Vivian Claire Liew.
Vivian Claire Liew Channel NewsAsia 1 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this National Day Rally publicly acknowledged climate change as an existential threat to Singapore – and aced it.

He unflinchingly positioned the threat dead-centre in the Singaporean psyche – and mentioned housing price risks in the East Coast and waterfront areas. Yet, he also managed to sound upbeat and forward-looking.

This marks the defining moment for Singapore’s climate war. It is a clarion call for us to understand the climate impact reverberating through our society, economy and geopolitics. Singapore’s Total Defence strategy surely welcomes its missing seventh pillar.


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56% increase in vegetation fires in first half of 2019: Shanmugam

Today Online 2 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: There were 555 vegetation fires in Singapore in the first half of this year, a 56 per cent increase from the 356 cases in the same period last year, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Monday (Sep 2).

Mr Shanmugam was responding to a question submitted in Parliament by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera, who had asked what measures were being taken to ensure the early detection of vegetation fires and the efficient deployment of resources to handle them.

In his written reply, Mr Shanmugam noted that the number of vegetation fires has risen in recent years due to factors such as drier and hotter weather.

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Malaysia: Hype about orang utan’s release but not his return

MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 2 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Animal rights activists are calling for more transparency by the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre, especially over its silence with the high-profile release of the orang utan named Tiger at the Tabin wildlife reserve late last year.

Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia director Upreshpal Singh said it was clear that Tiger was unable to go back to its natural home and was brought back to the Sepilok rehabilitation centre.

“We are aware that it is now in Sepilok but its management continues to use videos of its release back to the wild as a success story to tourists visiting the internationally famed rehabilitation centre.

“The use of such video portraying Tiger’s release may not be the appropriate representation, ” he said, adding that it was important for Sepilok authorities to explain what happened to Tiger, which was rescued as a baby 17 years ago.

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Malaysia: Divers remove ghost nets, rescue bamboo shark off Malohom bay

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 2 Sep 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The threat posed by ‘ghost nets’ — fishing nets discarded or lost in the sea — to marine life forms was evident recently when a dive and recreation team from Gayana Marine Resort discovered two bamboo sharks battling for their lives in the surrounding waters off Malohom bay here.

The team managed to rescue one shark, but could not save the other.

The resort was conducting a cleanup operation following the discovery of ghost nets in the surrounding waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP).

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Malaysia: Sarawak Forestry rescues protected parrots from China 'fortune tellers', lodges police report

The Star 2 Sep 19;

MIRI: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has lodged a police report against a group of fortune tellers from China who abused protected wildlife in their so-called "fortune-telling" business in Miri.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said his enforcement unit had also rescued two protected parrots being abused by these foreign traders.

"SFC officers raided the exhibition and rescued the two birds.

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Indonesia: Some 70 percent damage caused to South Kalimantan's mangrove forest

Antara 31 Aug 19;

Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Some 70 percent of the 116,824 hectares of mangrove forest in South Kalimantan's coastal area have incurred destruction.

"The existence of mangrove forest in South Kalimantan is under threat. Care and concrete actions are deemed necessary to preserve the mangroves," Dean of the Faculty of Fishery and Marine of the University of Lambung Mangkurat (ULM) Pahmi Ansyari noted in a statement, Saturday.

Apt actions, including the planting of mangrove seedlings, are deemed necessary for restoration of the mangrove forest ecosystem. Mangrove is beneficial for the environment and crucial to preventing abrasion.

"As part of the concrete action demonstrating our care for mangrove forest preservation, we will organize a one thousand mangrove tree planting event dubbed 'Action for Mangrove (BUM),'" Phami Ansyari, an expert in aquaculture, stated.

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Indonesia: 16 sub-districts in N Sulawesi brace for drought

Antara 2 Sep 19;

Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Sixteen sub-districts in eight districts and municipalities in North Sulawesi have braced for drought during the current severe dry season, according to Muhamad Candra Buana, spokesman of the North Minahasa climatology station.

The eight districts and municipalities were Manado, Bitung, Bolaang Mongondow, North Bolaang Mongondow, East Bolaang Mongondow, Southeast Minahasa, North Minahasa, and Sitaro Islands, he said here on Monday.

In Bitung, severe dry spell affected the sub-districts of Aertembaga, North Lembeh and Matuari. In Manado, the drought-hit sub-districts were Mapanget, Malalayang and Bunaken. In Bolaang Mongondow, Bolaang and North Dumoga sub-distr4icts were hit by extreme dry season.

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