Mandai eco-resort to offer guests behind-the-scenes animal experiences

Tiffany Fumiko Tay Straits Times 23 May 19;

SINGAPORE - Beyond snoozing in the middle of five wildlife parks, overnight guests at the future eco-resort in Mandai will be able to participate in behind-the-scenes activities where they can work with keepers and learn about the animals.

Mr Mike Barclay, group chief executive of Mandai Park Holdings, said during a media conference on Thursday (May 23) that the resort will offer a unique opportunity for guests to experience hands-on and learning activities that are not currently available.

Guests could, for example, be taken to the zoo's elephant enclosure in the evenings to help keepers put together "food puzzles" to be placed in the exhibit, and return in the morning to watch the elephants pull apart the branches and twine enveloping the treats, he said.

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Primary school pupils win top prize in environmental competition with role-playing game

Aqil Hamzah Straits Times 22 May 19;

SINGAPORE - The year is 2100 and rising sea levels have forced Singaporeans to live atop a floating city.

Global warming has caused irreversible damage to the environment and the only solution is to travel back in time to educate society about the importance of environmental conservation.

This is the premise of Symbiosis: The Environment Role Playing Game, which was developed by Primary 5 pupils from Temasek Primary School in collaboration with 28 partners, including the National Environment Agency.

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Malaysia: 'Last warning': Johor state government tells businesses not to pollute rivers

Channel NewsAsia 22 May 19;

JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor state government has urged chicken farms and palm oil refineries situated along the Johor River to maintain their sewerage systems and prevent water pollution.

Those who fail to comply and end up contaminating the waters would face harsh punishments, state executive councillor for international trade, investment and utility Jimmy Puah has warned, according to local media reports.

"Operators must improve and enhance their sewage systems and waste management," he was quoted as saying by Sin Chew Daily following a meeting with some 30 industry players on Tuesday (May 21).

"Consider this the last warning from the state government," he said.

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Malaysia: Cloud seeding did not bear fruit, contingencies in place - Melaka CM

r.s.n.murali The Star 22 May 19;

MELAKA: Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari confirmed on Wednesday (May 22) says that cloud seeding exercise from May 16 to May 18 brought heavy downpours.

He however added that the downpour happened 20km away from the intended target - the Durian Tunggal Dam.

“We were hoping on cloud seeding, but it showered heavily in Tampin instead, causing us to embark on another contingency plan to ensure that the water supply here is enough during the festive season,” he said when met at Seri Negeri.

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Malaysia: Turtle researchers to switch to better tagging methods

stephanie lee The Star 22 May 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Researchers here have promised to use safer and better methods when tagging turtles in waters off Semporna to better protect these endangered sea creatures.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said a roundtable discussion was organised, following concerns from seasoned divers and researchers on the "lift bag method" used during the annual Mabul Sea Turtle Project.

Some claim that this method, used by certain scientists from a public university, are harmful to these marine creatures.

The "lift bag method" is used when capturing turtles to tag, where they are tied to an air-filled bag and floated to the surface.

The speed they ascend to the surface is believed to be harmful, as it could lead to decompression sickness – and even possible fatalities – in turtles.

Tuuga said there had been speculation that this was leading to the death of turtles here, but there is no evidence to these claims.

"However, the scientists involved will make appropriate changes to the method for the additional safety of turtles," he said.

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India: Coral bleaching observed near Mandapam, Keezhakkarai, Palk Bay

Shubashree Desikan The Hindu 22 May 19;

When a coral bleaches, it does not die but comes pretty close to it. Some of the corals may survive the experience and recover once the sea surface temperature returns to normal levels.

The National Centre for Coastal Research, an institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, in India, has a field research station in the Gulf of Mannar region, and researchers led by Dr. Shanmugaraj have found an alarming pattern of bleaching in the reefs in Mandapam, Keezhakkarai and Palk Bay. They have found that sea surface temperature ranged from 28.7°C to 31°C in the August 2018-February 2019 period and there was no bleaching seen then. However, when the temperatures rose to between 32°C and 36°C between March 2019 and May 2019, researchers observed a pattern of bleaching in corals, which was different at different layers within the sea.

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