Best of our wild blogs: 15 Jul 19

20 Jul (Sat): Volunteer training for NParks Biodiversity Beach Patrol
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Ubin's Prickly Affair
Wan's Ubin Journal

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Singapore opens first seed bank to protect regional plant diversity against climate change

Junn Loh Channel NewsAsia 13 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s first seed bank was officially launched on Saturday (Jul 13), as part of efforts to protect local and regional plant diversity against threats like climate change and habitat loss.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank, set up by the National Parks Board (NParks) in House 4 – the largest of the five colonial-style houses within the former Raffles College at Cluny Road – has a storage capacity of up to 25,000 plant species.

This is about half the number of seed plant species in the region and more than double of that currently found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which has around 10,000 species.

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'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

Ambitious export plan could generate billions and make Australia the centre of low-cost energy in a future zero-carbon world
Adam Morton The Guardian 14 Jul 19;

The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore’s future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change.

If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia’s energy industry and what the country sells to the world.

Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock.

Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state’s electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power.

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Malaysia: Pasir Gudang pollution victims lodge police report

The Star 14 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU (Bernama): More than 100 victims of the pollution in Pasir Gudang in March and June have lodged a police report here to urge the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the incidents.

Among the victims who lodged the reports were residents of Taman Pasir Putih, Kota Masai and Tanjung Puteri Resort.

The police report was made through the Resident Action Body On Environment Pollution Issues of Taman Pasir Putih at the Seri Alam Police Station at 11.11am Sunday (July 14).

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Malaysia: Gazetting of shark and ray species not enough, says expert

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government has gazetted four shark and two ray species as protected, but a conservationist says the move may not be enough.

Sabah Shark Protection Association president Aderick Chong said that while the move was good and timely, there were a lot of uncertainties on its effectiveness.

“I am wondering how the authorities will control what fishermen catch and what traders sell,” he said when contacted.

“How can they enforce this law when many a times, we cannot even identify the species of the shark after its head has been chopped off?” he said.

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Malaysia: Juvenile clouded leopard successfully rescued in Ranau

The Star 13 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: A male juvenile clouded leopard, believed to have become separated from its mother, was rescued at a village in Ranau district early Saturday (July 13) morning.

The Sabah Wildlife Department's wildlife rescue unit (WRU) went to Kampung Perancangan on Friday evening, after a villager said he spotted the animal roaming around the village a couple of days before.

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Malaysia: 250 turtle eggs confiscated from Lahad Datu market

Hazsyah Abdul Rahman New Straits Times 13 Jul 19;

LAHAD DATU: Marine police have seized 250 turtle eggs from the Lahad Datu wet market here yesterday (July 12).

In the 10am operation, the eggs, worth RM500, were found in a bucket and a basket near the market's chicken slaughter station.

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Malaysia: Researchers find microplastics in sea salt

The Star 14 Jul 19;

THE increase in news reports of marine wildlife washing up dead on shores due to complications from ingesting plastic, brings to light the severity of plastic consumption, disposal of plastic and garbage, and pollution of our waterways and oceans.

The Great Pacific garbage patch so far is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. There are smaller accumulations scattered all around the world. If marine life has been affected, are humans at risk?

This is what piqued the interests of senior lecturers, Dr Jane Gew Lai Ti and Dr Yow Yoon Yen of the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology at Sunway University.

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Indonesia: Man arrested for trying to smuggle elephant tusks from Malaysia

Dyaning Pangestika The Jakarta Post 12 Jul 19;

The authorities in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, have arrested a 54-year-old man for allegedly trying to smuggle 10 elephant tusks from Malaysia.

Investigators from the Kalimantan Law Enforcement Center (Gakkum) foiled the smuggling attempt after receiving a tip-off from the Nunukan Customs and Excise Office on Tuesday.

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Indonesia: Living with drought

The Jakarta Post 13 Jul 19;

There is nothing new about the long droughts the country is now enduring. This nation has umpteen times proved its resilience in withstanding climate phenomena, that can have disastrous impacts on human beings and their environment. But inaction, assuming that it will eventually pass, is a mistake that will not only exacerbate the damage but also leave us unprotected when the disaster recurs in the future.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that the dry season may be drier and more intense this year than last year as a result of the El Nino phenomenon. The agency has classified West Java, Central Java, most parts of East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali and Nusa Tenggara as the regions most vulnerable to extreme drought, or more than 60 days without rain. Jakarta, Banten, Sumatra, Kalimantan and South Sulawesi are the second-most prone regions.

Although the dry season will only culminate in August, its impacts have already been felt in many areas. A number of regional governments have reported scarcity of clean water, declining supply of irrigation water and potential crop failure. Most recently, health authorities in Pacitan, East Java, reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A that infected more than 1,000 people as a result, albeit an indirect one, of drought.

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Indonesia: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

Antara 14 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru. Riau (ANTARA) - Tampan and Senapelan Sub-districts in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra Island, on Sunday were shrouded in haze coming from forest fire.

"Haze shrouds Panam (in Tampan sub-district)," Tanjung, a local inhabitant, said here on Sunday.

The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 38 hotspots on Sunday morning, an increase from 35 hotspots on the previous day, the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology and geophysics (BMKG) station, said.

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Vietnam: Urban heat islands make Vietnam’s cities hotter than ever

Vietnam News 12 Jul 19;

HCM CITY — Urban heat islands in HCM City and other large cities in Việt Nam are causing heat waves with some of the highest recorded temperatures ever in the country, affecting public health.

The Centre for Regional and Urban Studies said this year is forecast to be the hottest ever since temperatures began to be recorded in 1880.

In large cities like HCM City and Hà Nội, temperatures reached 40-50 degrees Celsius in March and April.

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Wildlife Traffickers Use Facebook, Instagram to Find Black-Market Buyers

‘If there were T-Rexes alive, they would be selling them,’ one researcher says
Kurt Wagner Bloomberg 11 Jul 19;

Ali Ahamed’s black satchel was overflowing with turtles, their tiny heads poking out. Just a few feet away, on the hotel room floor, roughly 20 larger turtles with dark brown shells were removed from black suitcases and flipped onto their backs to keep them from crawling under the couch.

Ahamed had arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and a popular stop for animal traffickers, from India a few days earlier to meet with his buyer, who had discovered the turtle broker through Facebook Inc.’s social network months earlier. The two negotiated a sale on Facebook Messenger. The 55 turtles in his bags included red-crowned roofed turtles, known for their brightly colored necks, and black spotted turtles with little yellow dots on their shells. Both species are endangered, and both have become popular pets in mainland China and Hong Kong.

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