Best of our wild blogs: 17 May 19

19 May: Registration opens for FREE St. John's Island tour on 23 Jun (Sun)
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2019
Singapore Bird Group

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Malaysia: Don't harm wandering tapir, Negri Sembilan Perhilitan tells residents

Abnor Hamizam Abd Manap New Straits Times 16 May 19;

JELEBU: Negri Sembilan Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) today urged residents not to harm a stray tapir which had wandered into the Pertang residential area recently.

The advice came following a viral post shared by netizens on various social media platforms yesterday.

State Perhilitan director Wan Mat Wan Harun, said the department would investigate the matter although no official complaint has been received so far on the incident.

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Malaysia: Poachers fined RM1.56mil, the biggest yet for wildlife crime

The Star 16 May 19;

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Terengganu Sessions Court has meted out a whopping RM1.56mil fine on two Vietnamese nationals caught poaching, making it the biggest fine ever imposed for wildlife crime.

The two men, Hoang Van Viet, 29, and Nguyen Van Thiet, 26, were also sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted on 20 charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for illegal possession of threatened and protected animal parts, including leopard, tapir and sun bear.

According to Traffic South-East Asia, the men pleaded guilty to charges under four sections of the law for illegal use of snares, illegal possession of totally protected species as well as protected species.

Judge Azman Mustapha also ruled that athe duo would be jailed a further 16 years if they failed to pay the fines.

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Malaysia: Melaka begins cloud seeding as dam drops to critical levels

r.s.n.murali The Star 16 May 19;

MELAKA: Melaka has begun cloud seeding on Thursday (May 16) as the Durian Tunggal Dam, the main water source for the state, is almost at critical levels.

State Transport, Works and Public Amenities Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sofi Abdul Wahab said the cloud seeding would continue till Saturday (May 18).

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Indonesia: Biak district bans use of plastic bags

Antara 16 May 19;

Biak, Papua (ANTARA) - The Biak Numfor district government in the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua plans to ban the use of plastic bags in shops and markets, as of June 1, 2019, as part of efforts to reduce plastic trash.

"The ban on the use of plastic bags is a follow up on the regional strategic policy of managing garbage based upon the regional regulation of 2018 on garbage and government regulation number 81 of 2012 on the management of garbage," second assistant to regional secretary Ferry Betay said on Thursday, at an event to familiarize the public with the ban on the use of plastic bags.

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Dozens of gray whales are dying on the West Coast as they make their epic Alaskan migration

Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY Yahoo News 17 May 19;

SAN FRANCISCO — At least 53 dead or dying gray whales have washed up on West Coast beaches this spring, a death rate that’s only been seen once before. The great mammals are starving to death and scientists have theories as to why but so far no full explanation.

The number of deaths is likely much higher because it’s estimated that only 10% of dead whales actually end up on shore, said John Calambokidis, a research biologist with the non-profit Cascadia Research in Olympia, Washington, who studies whale populations on the West Coast.

That could mean as many as 530 whales have died, a large number for a population that is estimated to be just over 20,000 and that only began to rebound in recent decades after being hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s.

The strandings have occurred up and down the West Coast, on major public beaches and in sheltered coves. What they have in common is the heart-wrenching image of these giants of the sea dying as they try to reach their feeding grounds, but not making it.

Whales that wash ashore offer a window in the health of marine ecosystems, said Kyle Van Houtan, chief scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California.

“They’re great indicators for what’s happening in the ocean and the animals are telling us what’s going on right now,” he said.

What they're saying is that something's wrong.

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