Best of our wild blogs: 4 Sep 19

LTA releases CRL EIA Phase II report
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Terumbu Raya is amazing
wild shores of singapore

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Through nature reserve or around? Residents, nature groups stick to guns on Cross Island Line paths

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 4 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — Residents who may have to live with construction work at their doorstep are not letting up in opposing the proposal for the future Cross Island Line to skirt the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Nature enthusiasts, for their part, are also sticking to their guns, repeating their objections to the MRT line passing underneath the nature reserve, saying that this could damage fragile ecosystems and harm wildlife.

These entrenched positions remain despite assurances this week that both alignment options being explored for Singapore’s eighth MRT line were feasible.

The latest assessment report found that the environmental impact of either tunnelling through the nature reserve or going around it could be “adequately managed” with comprehensive mitigating measures and monitoring plans.

On Monday (Sept 2), the authorities gazetted for public inspection and feedback the second stage of a report assessing the environmental impact of building the line. The Government has not decided on which option to take.

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Land reclamation projects to combat climate change can be funded from past reserves: Lawrence Wong

NG JUN SEN Today Online 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE — To finance the fight against climate change, smaller-scale infrastructure such as flood barriers can be funded from the Government’s Budget each year, while “long-lived major” infrastructure — including sea walls — could involve borrowing, said Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3).

When land reclamation is involved, the costs will come from Singapore’s past reserves and the value of the reclaimed land after it is sold in the future will be fully returned to the reserves, said Mr Wong, who is also the National Development Minister.

“The reclamation of land is in essence a conversion of past reserves — from financial assets to state land. This use is not a draw on past reserves,” said Mr Wong, adding that this arrangement is part of the Reserves Protection Framework agreed between the Government and the President, whose constitutional role is to safeguard the national reserves.

Mr Wong was answering a parliamentary question by Associate Professor Walter Theseira, who had asked about the extent to which this policy to fund land reclamation will be applied to the S$100 billion climate change costs announced in this year’s National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

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Trash Talk: A toxic trash pile grows when gadgets become waste — in a year or less

CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 4 Sep 19;

With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the third instalment, we look at the often underestimated problem of electronic waste, and how consumerist lifestyles are adding to the toxic pile. Click to read the first and second instalment of the series.

SINGAPORE — The next time you are about to throw out your handphone to get a new model, perhaps ask yourself first: How many gorillas died for this?

What is the link, you might ask? Well, the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla has lost 77 per cent of its population in the last 20 years, partly due to the mining of minerals used in mobile phones. 

The main mineral mined is coltan, a type of ore used in mobile phones and other electronic devices such as laptops, digital cameras and tablets.

And despite the hard labour (often in slave-like conditions) involved in mining this mineral, and the devastating impact that this has on the natural habitats of various wild creatures, we throw aside our devices each time a new version comes along.

Experts cautioned that the rollout of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks could also spell the demise of 4G gadgets, and see them ending up on the trash heap.

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Man tries to smuggle 2 hedgehogs through Woodlands Checkpoint

Channel NewsAsia 3 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE: Two live hedgehogs were found hidden in a Singapore-registered car at the Woodlands Checkpoint by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers on Saturday (Aug 31).

The animals were wrapped in camouflage netting and hidden in the spare tyre compartment of the vehicle.

ICA said a 42-year-old Singaporean man was referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for further investigation and that the hedgehogs are now under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“Animals like hedgehogs are not suitable as pets as they may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape.

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Malaysia: Nearly 150,000 to be affected by month-long scheduled water cuts in three districts in Johor

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 3 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: The lack of rainfall and the ongoing hot weather in the last two weeks have caused the water level at the Machap Dam to fall to critical level, disrupting supply to almost 150,000 consumers in three areas in Johor.

In a statement on Tuesday (Sept 3), the National Water Services Commission (Span) said the condition at the dam had forced water supply company, SAJ Ranhill, to activate scheduled cuts for about a month.

"Following this, it is estimated that a total of 149,550 consumers from 29,910 accounts around Simpang Renggam, Layang-Layang and Pontian Utara would be affected from Monday until Oct 2.

"To ensure that clean water supply is optimised under limited resource conditions, Ranhill SAJ will arrange to supply water for 36 hours, followed by the next 36 hours without water," said the statement.

Span also pointed out that besides Machap, three other dams in Johor were also at critical levels - the Lebam dam, Upper Layang dam and Pulai dam.

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Malaysia: Johor MB - No open burning, please

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 2 Sep 19;

JOHOR BARU: Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal (pic) has urged the public, in particular, farmers, not to conduct any open burning during the current hot spell.

He said the public must understand the difficulties faced by the Fire and Rescue Department to put out fires during the dry season.

For instance, he said firemen had been battling a forest fire in Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah, for more than 12 days.

“The area is mostly peat soil where the underground heat can spread the fire quickly but (it) takes a long time to be doused, which is why we hope people will not do any open burning, ” he said after officiating the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration yesterday.

A total of 140 firemen along with personnel from other agencies have been working round the clock to douse the fire, which is believed to have been caused by the hot and dry weather since Aug 21.

They have been using “total flooding” as well as “fire break” techniques to prevent the fire from spreading.

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Malaysia: Leopard cat found killed in Kuala Baram forest fire

Stephen Then The Star 3 Sep 19;

MIRI: Firefighters dousing the remains of forests ravaged by wildfires in the Kuala Baram district in northern Sarawak have uncovered dead animals, including a leopard cat.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department said Bomba firefighters and voluntary firefighters from land developer Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd were dousing burning ambers near the Industrial Training Institute and Hamidah Orphanage, when they found the dead animals.

Miri fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the discovery was made on Tuesday morning (Sept 3).

He said he had informed the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

"The feedback I got from the SFC is that the dead wildlife is possibly a leopard cat.

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Indonesia: Wildfires in Riau force wild elephants to flee habitats

Antara 3 Sep 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Few wild elephants fled their habitats, entering residential areas after wildfires spread through the Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau Province, for the past week, the Natural Resources Conservation Office (BBKSDA) stated here, Tuesday.

Riau BBKSDA Chief Andi Hansen Siregar remarked that the national park's rangers had conducted monitoring of the movement of wild Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) from the rainforest to Bongkal Malang Village in Indragiri Hulu District.

Following a tip-off from villagers, two wild Sumatran elephants were spotted roaming around the plantation areas.

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Indonesia: North Sumatra tapir to be returned to wild after giving birth

Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 3 Sep 19;

North Sumatra authorities have postponed a plan to release a female Sumatran tapir into the wild after discovering that she is pregnant.

The tapir was previously rescued from a plantation in Asahan regency.

After finding out that the tapir was pregnant, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) decided to transfer the mammal to the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park until it gave birth.

North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said the agency would ultimately release the female tapir into the Dolok Surungan wildlife reserve, which is a natural habitat for tapirs.

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