Best of our wild blogs: 23 Feb 19

Lush seagrass meadows at East Coast Park
wild shores of singapore

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Malaysia: Tougher laws fail to deter pangolin poachers

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 23 Feb 19;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Malaysia: Hobbyists should not dump alien fish in rivers

ROSLI ZAKARIA New Straits Times 22 Feb 19;

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

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

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

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Malaysia: Unabated land clearing, mining mar Tasik Chini environment

AMIN RIDZUAN ISHAK New Straits Times 23 Feb 19;

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

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

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

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

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Indonesia: Smoke forces suspension of school activities in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 22 Feb 19;

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

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

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

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

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Indonesia: Fifty tons of marine debris picked up from Wakatobi

Antara 22 Feb 19;

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

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

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

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