Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jun 19

Special Changi shore still alive
wild shores of singapore

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New exhibition documents 200 significant natural history events in Singapore

Straits Times 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE - It may seem hard to imagine now but such was the popularity of turtle meat in 19th Century Singapore that the creatures were often kept alive by being placed upside down until people got hungry.

And less than 30 years ago wild elephants roamed Pulau Tekong for a week, after a family of three swam over from Johor and co-existed with national servicemen, until the trio were captured and moved to a national park in Malaysia.

These are some of the 200 stories documented at a new exhibition at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

200: A Natural History was opened by guest of honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, on Monday (June 3).

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S$26 million in funding for firms to implement water conservation schemes

NAVENE ELANGOVAN Today Online 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — Over the next three years, large industrial water users that are keen to implement water recycling or water conservation solutions within their premises can tap on funds of up to S$26 million administered by PUB.

The national water agency said water-intensive companies could reduce their consumption by up to 70 per cent through water recycling.

Water demand in the non-domestic sector is projected to jump from the current 55 per cent to 70 per cent of overall consumption by 2060, it said.

PUB hopes to achieve industrial water savings of three million gallons per day (mgd) every year, or savings equivalent to the water demand of more than 25,000 households.

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As businesses join anti-straw bandwagon, consumers call for more sustainable solutions

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE — While most lauded the move by hundreds of food and beverage outlets to stop providing straws, critics also pointed out that a plastic straw ban alone does little to reduce plastic pollution as a whole.

Some consumers TODAY spoke to said that businesses should adopt more sustainable solutions that reduce overall plastic use and other types of waste if they are serious about doing their bit for environmental sustainability.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (June 3) that more than 270 F&B outlets in Singapore will remove straws completely from their premises or provide them only on request by July 1.

Ms Aarti Giri, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, said that while it is good to hear about F&B business coming together to reduce the use of straws, this may only address the “straw” issue and not disposable plastics on the whole.

“As rightly pointed out by some, straws are a small part of the humongous plastic waste problem,” she said.

“In fact, I am afraid, businesses may get away from their actual corporate social responsibility role by feeling good that they are playing an important part merely by shining the spotlight on straws reduction and may turn out to be just another tactic to go under the ‘corporate green washing’ umbrella,” she added.

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More than 270 F&B outlets to stop providing plastic straws by Jul 1

Channel NewsAsia 3 Jun 19;

SINGAPORE: More than 270 food and beverage (F&B) outlets in Singapore will phase out plastic straws by Jul 1, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced on Monday (Jun 3).

Participating F&B outlets will be removing straws completely from their premises, providing them only on request or for specific medical reasons, WWF said in a media release.

This includes 53 F&B outlets owned by Accor Group, which operates hotels like Raffles, Swissotel and Fairmont, 24 Pastamania outlets, dozens of outlets operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and 15 eateries under the Spa Espirit Group including Tiong Bahru Bakery and 40 Hands.

"This is the largest industry commitment so far that addresses the excessive use of plastic disposables in Singapore," said Ms Lotika Mehta, campaigns manager of WWF-Singapore.

The move is part of the PACT (Plastic ACTion) initiative by WWF, which is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste SG.

People in Singapore use about 2.2 million straws daily, according to a 2018 report by AlphaBeta, The Final Straw and the Cyan Project.

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Your Bowl of Rice Is Hurting the Climate Too

Rice cultivation could be as bad for global warming as 1,200 coal plants, so why aren’t consumers more bothered?
Aine Quinn and Jeremy Hodges Bloomberg 3 Jun 19;

Eco-conscious consumers are giving up meat and driving electric cars to do their part for the environment, but what about that bowl of rice?

Global rice farming, it turns out, could have the same detrimental effect on global warming in the short term as 1,200 average-sized coal power plants, according to the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund advocacy group. That means the grain is just as damaging over the long term as annual carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. combined.

As the sheer size of the staple food’s carbon footprint becomes clearer to scientists, companies including the maker of Uncle Ben’s rice and Olam International Ltd., the world’s second-biggest rice supplier, are starting to source more of the grain from farms that aren’t flooded, a widespread cultivation technique that releases methane gas into the atmosphere.

“The amount of attention that rice receives for these issues is relatively small compared to the size of the problem,” says Paul Nicholson, who heads rice research and sustainability for Olam from Singapore. “People are very informed on their chocolate, coffee, hair care solutions, but rice is an afterthought.”

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Malaysia: Sabah govt to discuss sustainable tourism with Lower Kinabatangan authorities

stephanie lee The Star 3 Jun 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The state government will be meeting with local authorities from the Lower Kinabatangan area to discuss sustainable tourism practices in a bid to protect wildlife and promote green tourism.

Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said she was told that many lodge and tour operators in the area were not keen to be attached with any associations that could restrict their operations.

She explained that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life Tourism Operator Association (KiTA) and the state government through the Sabah Wildlife Department to promote sustainable tourism in 2015.

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Malaysia to set up first tapir conservation centre in Jelebu

Bernama New Straits Times 3 Jun 19;

SEREMBAN: Malaysia’s first tapir conservation centre will be built in the Kenaboi Forest Reserve/State Park, Jelebu in Negri Sembilan, according to Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Department's state director, Wan Mat Wan Harun.

“The rationale behind it is Perhilitan hasn’t got a dedicated conservation centre for a comprehensive tapir treatment, rehabilitation and breeding programme yet despite the number of animals being rescued rising every year.

“The state park is ideal for the project. The centre will encourage research and development into the species by local and international researchers,” he told Bernama.

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Indonesia: Endangered Javan leopard evacuated from West Java village

Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 3 Jun 19;

West Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) evacuated a black Javan leopard, or panther, from Cimalingping in Kasomalang district in Subang on Saturday after it became trapped inside a house.

Before the authorities came to the site, locals armed with sticks and machetes had tried to catch the critically endangered animal by themselves but to no avail.

The footage of the capture attempt had gone viral on the internet over the weekend.

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Thailand: Tour operators want better marine protection system

Clearer communication from authorities on closures would also help

The temporary closure for rehabilitation of several famous marine national parks and coastal sites, including Maya Bay and the Similan and Surin islands in southern Thailand, and more recently Samae San island on the east coast, has drawn mixed reactions from stakeholders.

While many praised the ecological recovery plans, local tourism operators have complained that unclear information over the closing plans and the reopening dates put them at a disadvantage.

Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said that even though many operators agree with closing marine national parks, they would like authorities to notify them of the duration of the closure and how the places will be restored during the period.

Discussions with representatives from the private sector and the Federation of Thai Industries suggest that whenever the authority wants to shut down national parks it should mitigate the impact on tour operators, Mr Phuriwat said.

The government should inform related tourism organisations in advance, instead of making abrupt announcements.

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