Best of our wild blogs: 2 Apr 19

A tiny lifer for us all – HSS x Love MacRitchie Walk (23 March 2019)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

No more fires in Indonesia? Blazes on Sumatran peatland say otherwise

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Boosting food security - from farm to fork

New agency to oversee all food-related issues, ensure safe produce
Cheryl Teh Straits Times 2 Apr 19;

The day may come when heat from local incineration plants is used to keep water at fish farms at optimum temperatures, so the tropical marine varieties bred for food can grow better.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday said this is a possibility that can be explored. He was speaking at the launch of the new Singapore Food Agency (SFA), which will manage all things food-related, including the future of food production as well as research into local high-tech farming strategies.

The 815 employees at the SFA are experts drawn from food related departments at three agencies. The statutory board's mission is to ensure and secure a supply of safe food locally.

The SFA will also address all food-related issues, from food production to food hygiene. The now-defunct Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) will see 565 of its food security and safety officials transferred to the new agency.

They will be joined by 219 inspectors and other staff from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and 31 food scientists from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

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No correlation between chemical smells and air quality readings: Amy Khor

Cindy Co Channel NewsAsia 1 Apr 19;

SINGAPORE: There is no correlation between burning or chemical smells and the ambient air quality readings, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor said in Parliament on Monday (Apr 1).

This was in response to a question by Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah, on whether there was any cause of concern for Yishun residents with regards to burning and pungent smells in the area.

There have been several fires in Johor over the past two months, including fires at two landfills in Bandar Tenggara and Tanjong Langsat and a fire in an oil palm plantation in Punggai.

"Between early-February and mid-March when the hotspots were detected in Johor, the 24-hour PSI readings remained within the good to moderate range, and the 1-hour PM2.5 levels remained in the normal range," Dr Khor said.

She also highlighted the specific measures taken by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to monitor and keep Singaporeans informed of pollution levels in Singapore's air quality and water supply.

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Malaysia: Wildfires encroach on Miri Golf Club as Similajau National Park continues to burn

stephen then The Star 1 Apr 19;

MIRI: The grounds of the Miri Golf Club near here have been hit by wildfires.

The Miri Fire and Rescue Department received a call for help at about 11.30am Monday (April 1) to douse wildfires burning trees and bushes on the golf course's grounds.

Miri Fire Chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said his firefighters were at the site, using mechanical pumps to draw water from the nearby Miri River to douse the flames.

Meanwhile, forest fires are spreading in the Similajau National Park as dry weather continues.

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Malaysia: Perak Wildlife Dept rescues lost baby elephant

Farah Suhaidah Othman New Straits Times 1 Apr 19;

IPOH: A three-year-old elephant, believed to have been separated from its herd, was rescued by the state Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) at Kampung Chepor, here, last Wednesday.

Its director Yusof Shariff said the male elephant, measuring about 20 centimetres, was spotted wandering near the village more than a week ago.

He said the department then deployed a team to the village to search for the animal and started the search effort on March 24.

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Malaysia: Changes to Wildlife Act being mulled


AMENDMENTS to the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 are being mulled to deal with online illegal wildlife trade, says Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji.

“We are proposing changes to the law, which involves amending 78 sections under the Act and the creation of 10 new sections.

“This is to strengthen existing laws to better protect the country’s wildlife and fauna,” he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit) during Question Time.

He noted that the amendments would also look into increasing penalties for illegal wildlife traders and poachers.

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Indonesia: BRG conducts revegetation in Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve

Antara 1 Apr 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) has taken measures to replant local species in the Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve (CG GCK BB), spanning an area of 40 hectares in Riau Province.

The initiative to conduct restoration kicked off in 2018 after a forest fire ravaged the area in that year, Sarjono Budi Subechi, head of the sub-working group of Riau Peatland Restoration, remarked here, Monday.

"The revegetation is being carried out by replanting the meranti (shorea) and jelutong (Dyera costulata) species in Giam Siak, covering an area of 40 ha, among others," he revealed.

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Australia: Lord Howe Island coral bleaching 'most severe we've ever seen', scientists say

Biologists fear they will now start to see coral mortality in world’s southern-most reef
Lisa Cox The Guardian 1 Apr 19;

Researchers have documented what they are describing as the most severe coral bleaching to hit the world’s southern-most reef at Lord Howe Island.

Scientists from Newcastle University, James Cook University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have spent the past two weeks surveying corals around the island in the far south Pacific Ocean after they were alerted to bleaching in isolated areas.

Bill Leggat, a coral biologist at Newcastle University, said the worst of the bleaching was in shallow water closer to the shoreline.

“It’s quite variable but where it’s severe it is actually quite severe,” he said.

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WWF sounds alarm after 48 lbs of plastic found in dead whale

COLLEEN BARRY, Associated Press Yahoo News 2 Apr 19;

MILAN (AP) — An 8-meter (26-foot) sperm whale was found dead off Sardinia with 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds) of plastic in its belly, prompting the World Wildlife Foundation to sound an alarm Monday over the dangers of plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

The environmental group said the garbage recovered from the sperm whale's stomach included a corrugated tube for electrical works, plastic plates, shopping bags, tangled fishing lines and a washing detergent package with its bar code still legible.

The female whale beached off the northern coast of Sardinia last week, within the vast Pelagos marine sanctuary that was created as a haven for dolphins, whales and other sea life.

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