Best of our wild blogs: 22 Jul 19

Yeomen of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

Butterflies at Dairy Farm Park (May - June) 2019
Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

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As time runs out on the climate crisis, Singapore prepares to address the cost of adapting

The threat of climate change is long term, the size of the investments concerned could be unprecedented and fundamental shifts in how the Government is structured may be needed.
Jaime Ho Channel NewsAsia 21 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The tone in Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli’s speech on Wednesday (Jul 17) was unmistakable.

In outlining ongoing extreme weather events worldwide, both closer to home and across Europe and Asia, Mr Masagos said that “time is running out” in the world’s collective ability to avert the calamity that will come if current trends persist.

Last year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the pinnacle of global scientific research on climate, projected with “high confidence” that global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052.

2030 is 11 years away.

The time has therefore come for clear-eyed assessments of what more must be done.

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Tropical cities will face 'unknown climates' by 2050

David Fogarty Straits Times 22 Jul 19;

Many of the world's major cities will face sharply different climates by 2050, with those in the tropics such as Singapore and Jakarta facing conditions they have never experienced before, including more intense rainfall and extreme droughts, researchers say.

Cities are on the front line for climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and threats to food security.

Half of the planet's population lives in cities and by 2050, little more than a generation away, three in four will live in urban areas, says the United Nations.

Singapore is boosting its defences and resilience. Last week, the Government announced it will pump $400 million over the next two years into upgrading and maintaining drains, and channel $10 million into studying sea level rise. These are just two of many measures meant to guard against a multitude of climate threats.

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New tech tools at Botanic Gardens arboretum will help conserve endangered forest giants

Yuen Sin Straits Times 20 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE - Due to illegal logging and deforestation, the population of dipterocarps - iconic trees that constitute the backbone of the Indo-Malayan rainforests - have decreased over the years.

Many species in Singapore have also become critically endangered.

When it opens at the end of this year, the OCBC arboretum in the Botanic Gardens will house an integrated suite of technological tools that will be employed to better track the climate, growth and conditions of these trees, and bolster efforts to conserve them, it was announced on Saturday (July 20).

The arboretum will also serve as a test bed for new technological tools for tree maintenance that will be progressively rolled out across the island over the next five years.

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Bigger Aedes mosquito population identified as key reason for surge in dengue cases

Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The Aedes aegypti mosquito population has increased by almost three times since the last major dengue outbreak in 2013, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Jul 19) as it outlined some of the key reasons for the high number of cases this year.

As of Thursday, there were 188 active dengue clusters in Singapore, of which more than 45 are listed as high-risk. There have also been 7,808 dengue cases so far this year, about five times more than the same period last year.

The largest dengue cluster in Woodlands, where there were 216 reported cases, has closed and is now under surveillance, NEA said.

“We are in the peak dengue season in Singapore, which usually stretches from June to October, and the region around us is similarly seeing an upsurge of dengue cases this year,” the agency said in a media advisory.

“Urgent community action is needed to eliminate all potential mosquito breeding habitats.”

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Malaysia, Johor: Sungai Danga pollution not due to sewage plant

The Star 20 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) says its wastewater treatment activities are not to blame for recent reports of pollution in Sungai Danga.

IWK said the sewage treatment plants managed by IWK around Sungai Danga and the entire area under Iskandar Puteri Municipal Council (MPIP) are in good condition and comply with the standards stipulated by the Depart­ment Of Environment (DOE).

IWK also cooperates with regulatory bodies such as DOE, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Natio­nal Water Services Commission, Johor Water Regulatory Body, MPIP and local authorities in relation to complaints that the water in Sungai Danga has turned black and emits a stench.

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Malaysia, Johor: Call to protect buffer zones along riverbanks

zazali musa The Star 20 Jul 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state government is urged to take stern action against those found encroaching into the buffer zones on both sides of the riverbanks in Johor.

Green Earth Society Johor president P. Sivakumar said the 50m buffer zones should be free from human activities such as vegetable farming, commodity crops cultiva­tion and sand mining.

He said the authorities should start looking at how bad the situation was along the riverbanks in the state, including at Sungai Johor as the river is the main source of raw water supply in the southern part of the state.

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Malaysia: SSPA welcomes protection of four shark, two ray species under amended regulations

Avila Geraldin New Straits Times 21 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Four species of shark and two species of ray have been listed as endangered under newly amended Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

The federal government gazette, which could be found on, mentioned about six new items inserted after subheading “Species under the Sawfish group”.

The newly listed species under the Shark group are Sphyrna mokarran (great hammerhead shark), Sphyrna zygaena (smooth hammerhead shark), Eusphyra blochii (winghead shark) and the Carcharhinus longimanus (oceanic whitetip shark).

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Malaysia: Exotic pet shops in Miri raided

The Star 21 Jul 19;

MIRI: More then 50 endangered or exotic animals have been seized from seven pet shops here during raids by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

The premises were a front for the illegal wildlife trade. The seized animals included long-tailed macaques, hill mynah, rare parrots and exotic Indian star tortoises.

The raids followed complaints from the local community and expatriates that many pet shops in Miri were selling animals in cruel, cramped conditions.

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Indonesia: Fire razes hectares of peatland on Pekanbaru's outskirts

Antara 21 Jul 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Fire has razed 15 hectares of peatland on the outskirts of the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru since Friday (July 18, 2019)

"The fire broke out on Friday (July 19, 2019). Right now, our team, along with personnel of the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Regional Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) are trying to put out the fire," Chief of the Pekanbaru Chapter of Forest Fire Control Brigade (Manggala Agn) Edwin Putra said here on Sunday.

It took long time to extinguish the blaze since the land mostly consisted of shrubs and peatland, he said.

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Indonesia: Plastic monster raises Indonesians' awareness of menace of plastic

Antara 20 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - A civil society coalition of 49 environmental groups, including the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and Greenpeace, launched a public awareness campaign highlighting the menace of single-use plastic bags by showcasing a plastic monster.

The plastic monster was displayed as a means of raising awareness among community members of the grave threat of marine debris akin to that posed by a dangerous monster, Chairperson of the Pandu Laut Nusantara (PLN) Prita Laura stated here on Saturday.

Several people are yet ignorant of the dangers posed by trash piles at sea to their lives. Hence, the community members need to be made aware of the fact that their daily lifestyle had contributed to the plastic waste crisis, she remarked.

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