Best of our wild blogs: 24 Jul 19

Singapore Bird Report – June 2019
Singapore Bird Group

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Singapore seizes record haul of ivory alongside pangolin scales in S$66m shipment

Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities on Sunday (Jul 21) seized S$66.2 million worth of elephant ivory and pangolin scales after they intercepted a transshipment bound for Vietnam.

Officials found 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales and 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory in a container from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the National Parks Board, Singapore Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in a joint release on Tuesday.

The container was part of a shipment of three being transhipped through Singapore to Vietnam, and had been declared as timber.

However "upon inspection, sacks containing pangolin scales and elephant ivory were found in one of the containers", said the news release.

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HDB to explore building cooler homes, 3D printing for future flats

Cindy Co and Ang Hwee Min Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: Cooler Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats could soon be a reality for Singaporeans.

At the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress 2019 on Tuesday (Jul 23), HDB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Evonik (SEA) to incorporate the firm's new silicon-based material into the roofing of HDB flats, offering better protection against Singapore’s heat.

Called Calostat, the insulation could reduce the ambient temperature in HDB flats by up to 2 degrees Celsius.

Initial trials are expected to start in the first quarter of 2020, and Calostat could also potentially be used for other parts of the building if they are successful, said HDB in a press release.

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Malaysia: Sandakan Marine cops seize 7k turtle eggs worth RM13k

stephanie lee The Star 23 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Marine police in Sandakan seized some 7,000 turtle eggs from a pump boat near the Sungai Batu 2 river on early Monday (July 22).

Sabah Marine police commander Asst Comm Mohamad Pajeri Ali said the eggs, worth about RM12,600, were seized at about 2.30am.

“We believe these eggs were smuggled in from the Philippines and are meant to be sold to the local market in Sandakan and its surrounding areas,” he said in a statement.

ACP Pajeri said prior to the seizure, marine police were conducting patrols in the area and they saw a suspicious looking green and blue pump boat with two men on board.

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Malaysia: Influencers fuelling illegal wildlife trade with exotic pet photos

mei mei chu The Star 22 Jul 19;

PETALING JAYA: First, it was photos of food. Now, the Instagram fame game has grown to celebrities and social media influencers sharing pictures of their exotic pets, many of which are protected wildlife. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and conservationists say this growing trend is fuelling the demand in the illegal wildlife trade.

The Star found that since 2015, celebrities and social media influencers, some with over three million followers, have been publicly showing images of endangered wildlife kept as households pets.

Among the popular wildlife are dusky leaf monkeys (lotong) and leopard cats (kucing batu). The Star also found a sun bear and an Asian palm civet.

These wildlife, mostly juveniles that can be easily bought online, are often photographed wearing diapers, collars and clothes.

In the posts, the owners call them their “babies”, drawing excited res­ponses from followers asking where to buy them.

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Malaysia: After whales and tigers, sun bears make their presence felt in Terengganu

Bernama New Straits Times 23 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: There seems to be no end to the streak of wildlife sightings in Terengganu in the past week.

Just days after killer whales and tigers made sudden appearances in the state’s waters and in a village, three sun bears were seen roaming at a Felda settlement here.

The bears were spotted in Felda Belara over the past two weeks, forcing residents to seek help from the Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

The department laid traps resulting in one of them being captured at 9.30pm last night.

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Malaysia: Ulu Muda logging suspension costing Kedah economy RM435m

Audrey Dermawan New Straits Times 22 Jul 19;

ALOR STAR: The economic cost of suspending logging activities in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve (UMFR) currently stands at RM435.52 million, says the Kedah Loggers’ Association (PPNK).

PPNK chairman Wan Muhammad Amin Mokhtar said this loss of revenue to Kedah's economy, being shouldered by loggers, resulted from the suspension of the Selective Management System logging on 20,000ha of the UMFR, out of the 106,418ha forest reserve.

The remaining hectarage is not a production forest and, thus, is fully protected.

He said this loss had not only impacted the logging industry but also other industries and the general population of the state.

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Malaysia: Sabah offers rhino’s eggs to Indonesia

muguntan vanar The Star 24 Jul 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is offering the eggs of its last remaining female Sumatran rhino Iman for fertilisation with male rhinos from Indonesia, says Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

Malaysia is also offering its expertise and experience on rhino conservation in Sabah in the hope of reversing the threat of extinction of these animals, she said.

“Together we will be able to reverse the Sumatran rhino’s fate,” Liew, who is Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said in a statement from WWF Malaysia.

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Indonesia: Huge fire ravages forest area of Kota Batu's Mt Panderman

Antara 22 Jul 19;

Kota Batu, Jawa Timur (ANTARA) - A huge wildfire ravaged forest area on the slope of Mount Panderman in Kota Batu, East Java, on Sunday evening but the disaster did not harm anyone because all mountaineers had safely arrived at the mountain's observation post, according to local authorities.

Head of Kota Batu's Disaster Mitigation Agency's Emergency and Logistics Unit Achmad Choirur Rochim said here on Monday that the latest report of Mt Panderman's Observation Post authority had confirmed that wildfire did not harm the lives of climbers.

"According to the latest report released by Mount Panderman's Observation Post authority at 10 p.m. local time, none of climbers remains at the mountain's climbing tracks when the fire is engulfing the forest," Rochim said.

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Indonesian Supreme Court declares Jokowi among those liable for 2015 forest fires resulting in regional haze

Channel NewsAsia 23 Jul 19;

JAKARTA: The Attorney-General of Indonesia on Monday (Jul 22) defended the government after the country's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which blamed President Joko Widodo and his cabinet ministers, as well as regional administrations, for failing to control the wildfires in 2015.

The wildfires which raged through Indonesia in 2015 caused thick haze to engulf the country and neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, the Jakarta Post reported on Monday.

“The conclusion is the government should fulfil its obligation to protect its citizens against the disaster," said Supreme Court spokesman Abdullah after the ruling on Friday. "It should work on necessary efforts to stop wildfires from happening."

Attorney-General H M Prasetyo on Monday said the government has acted to tackle the wildfires issue.

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