Best of our wild blogs: 5 Dec 16

Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) @ National University of Singapore Faculty of Science
Monday Morgue

Read more!

Malaysia: Call to adopt Libaran shoreline to encourage turtle landings

The Star 5 Dec 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Turtle conservationists on Libaran Island off Sabah’s east coast are hoping for companies or individuals to adopt its shoreline in an effort to keep the beaches clean and encourage nest landings.

Friends of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president Alexander Yee said the 3km long coastline had been divided into 60 lots measuring 50m each that could be adopted for RM100 monthly or RM1,200 annually.

These funds, said Yee, would then be given to the villagers who would actually carry out the cleaning.

“A dirty shoreline means unhygienic living environment for the villagers and prevents the turtles from coming to shore to lay their eggs,” he said.

Yee said there were some 450 people living on the island, whose main livelihood was fishing.

The move to clean up the island’s beach started in 2015 after rubbish, ranging from plastic bags to diapers and even the occasional television set, washed ashore.

He said that following public dialogues, the villagers had started to maintain their compound and fenced up their livestock, mainly cattle.

A clean beach would increase the frequency of nest landings, he said, adding that this year, several environmentally conscious companies as well as the Tourism and Culture Ministry had chipped in with the funds.

Those interested can e-mail for further details of the programme.

Yee said the community beach cleaning was part of Foster’s action plan for next year, adding that it was also expected to work out more collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department in conserving and protecting sea turtles.

Between 2012 and June this year, the hatchery has collected 20,262 green turtle eggs and 10,598 hawksbill turtle eggs.

Of these, 23,808 hatchlings have been successfully released into the sea.

Read more!

Malaysia: Man tries to cart RM100,000 worth of agarwood into the country, caught

ZULIATY ZULKIFFLI New Straits Times 4 Dec 16;

BUKIT KAYU HITAM: The Border Security Agency has foiled an attempt by a local man to smuggle 14kg of gaharu or agarwood worth RM100,000 into the country today.

Its state commander Abdul Latif Abdul Rahman said the 49-year-old man and his Vietnamese girlfriend, aged 22, were travelling back from Thailand, when they were flagged down at the agency’s check-point about 3.15pm. Abdul Latif said upon inspection, his men found the precious and endangered wood in the man’s Kia Sorento sport utility vehicle.

“We believe the high value wood is meant for fragrance production and we have handed over the case to the Forestry Department for further action,” he said.

Read more!

Malaysia: Monsoon season brings bountiful harvest, fishermen gets an alternative source of income

ADRIAN DAVID New Straits Times 4 Dec 16;

BESUT: The monsoon season is bringing in hordes of migratory ikan pulutan here, as coastal fishermen in Beting Lintang and Kuala Besut have discovered.

Pulutan is a type of thorny fish, also known as mayong and is a favoured alternative to ikan patin (catfish) to make tempoyak (a Malay condiment made from fermented durian).

The arrival of pulutan in abundance has offered the fishermen an alternate source of income, as they are unable to go deep fishing due to the adverse weather.

Some fishermen in large vessels were able to harvest up to 30 tonnes per catch out at sea, revealed Besut Fishermen’s Association chairman Tengku Harun Tengku Ismail.

The fishermen, he added, readily sold each kilogramme of pulutan at around RM6 to wholesalers, as demands in large towns have been good. A catch of 30 tonnes (or 30,000kg) can fetch a cool RM180,000!

“It is not unusual for ikan pulutan to appear during the monsoon season, from October to December. Some large ones can weigh up to 10kg each.

“When ikan pulutan appears, the fishermen know that the monsoon season has arrived,” said Harun.

The species, he added, often came to the coastal areas to lay eggs and breed.

“Thus, it is fattened and appears like the glutinous rice, the pulut, from which it derives its name, pulutan.”

Harun said the fishermen often pooled their resources together as a majority did not have large vessels.

“Therefore, these fishermen in smaller boats summon the help of larger boat operators to ferry their catch to the jetty and share the profits,” said Harun.

Fishermen, Khairul Hisham Che Harun, 38, from Beting Lintang said luck also mattered as not all the fishermen were always able to make a good catch.

“Many like me only make two catches a month, between two and six tonnes each time. Sometimes, the ikan pulutan escape from our nets which break owing to the mass weight of the fish.

“At other times, we came back empty handed without any catch at all,” said Khairul.

Read more!

Malaysia: Floods worsen in Perak, Kelantan

The Star 4 Dec 16

IPOH: The number of flood evacuees in Perak increased to 88 on Sunday morning from 74 a day earlier.

A spokesman of the state disaster management secretariat said said 38 people from nine families were moved out of their homes in Kampung Pengkalan Ara near Sungai Manik to Sekolah Kebangsaan Pengkalan Ara.

Fifty people from 13 families in Kampung Padang Serai were evacuated to Sekolah Rendah Agama Rakyat in Kampung Padang Serai, he added.

The spokesman said the floodwaters in Kampung Padang Serai increased to between 0.5m and 1.4m Sunday morning and in Kampung Pengkalan Ara, up to 1m, he added.

"The floods were caused by incessant heavy rain, and the floodwaters were stagnant," he said, adding that the drainage had to be improved.

In Kota Baru, the number of flood victims in Kelantan rose to 75 people Sunday morning from 45 last night, according to the portal of the state government.

It said 29 people from seven families were evacuated from Kampung Tiong here to a relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Tiong last night.

Twenty-six evacuees were being housed at SK Wakaf Raja in Pasir Puteh and 19 at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jelawat and SMK Beris Panchor in Bachok.

The portal said the level of the Kelantan river in some areas dropped to normal Sunday morning. - Bernama

Terengganu embarks on flood mitigation works

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government has embarked on several short-term and long-term flood mitigation projects since 2013 when half of the villages in Kemaman and the entire town of Chukai were submerged.

Mentri Besar Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman said the state had completed two projects – the building of water passages from Kampung Padang Bual mosque to the Sungai Angga bridge in Besut and flood mitigation works in Taman Rakyat in Hulu Terengganu.

“The works we have embarked on include deepening, widening and straightening the curves of the rivers that have been identified as slowing down the flow of water to the sea,” he said.

Besides these, Ahmad Razif said there were nine projects costing some RM154mil that involved flood mitigation in Dungun, Bukit Payong and Besut.

“Some of the projects have started, three others have been completed and some will be finished in 2018. We have also included the Chukai-Kemaman Phase 2 flood mitigation project under the 11th Malaysia Plan which cost over RM340mil.”

Ahmad Razif said the state government incurred losses amounting to millions of ringgit each time there was a major flood.

“Taking into account the severity of the floods in the past and public interest, there is definitely a need to give priority to such projects,” he said, admitting that some low-lying areas would be affected during the north-east monsoon.

Council workers have been seen cleaning and clearing rubbish from clogged drains around the city in preparation for the monsoon.

Meanwhile, in Kuantan, images and “news” about floods are flooding the social media, giving the Fire and Rescue Department in Pahang a headache.

Its director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim appealed to Malaysians not to be too quick to believe or panic over what were being circulated via social media.

They should also avoid posting photographs and information quoting irrelevant sources, he said.

“Some pictures of floods posted on social media turned out to be images from years before. Or it was something that did not happen in our country,” he said after closing the East Coast Zone Integrity Inspection Forum in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan, yesterday.

Wan Mohd Nor said Malaysians should verify information from the relevant authorities.

“Members of the public should only liaise with the authorities for a clearer picture of any situation,” he said.

He also lamented cases where people made light of actual floods, assuming the occurrence was akin to a “festival”.

“Floods are a serious matter. We have been on the alert and we are prepared to do what is necessary,” he said, cautioning parents to be mindful of their children to ensure no drowning.

On another matter, Wan Mohd Nor said there were one or two cases of corruption involving the department’s personnel who accepted personal contributions.

“The department will keep doing what is necessary to curb corruption.

“We want to close the loopholes and opportunities that tempt our officers into committing corruption,” he said.

Read more!

Vietnam: Floods kill at least 13 people in central Vietnam

Reuters 4 Dec 16;

Floods brought by torrential rain since late November have killed at least 13 people in central Vietnam while more heavy rain is expected in coming days, the government and state media said on Sunday.

Six people have died in floods in Binh Dinh province since Thursday and another four were killed in Quang Ngai province, while more than 10,000 homes in the two provinces were submerged, the government said.

Three children aged between four and 13 were swept away in flood waters in Quang Nam province on Saturday, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper cited a provincial report as saying.

A cold snap now moving southward is forecast to bring heavy rain to central provinces between now and next Thursday, the government report said.

Floods killed 65 people since October in central provinces, submerged 200,000 homes and damaged railway and roads, with losses valued at more than 7 trillion dong ($309 million), the government said on Friday.

The flood-stricken areas are in the north, outside Vietnam's Central Highlands coffee belt and Mekong Delta food basket.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Read more!

Best of our wild blogs: 3-4 Dec16

Land reclamation in Malaysia puts environment, endangered turtle at risk
Mongabay Conservation news

Wildlife in an urban jungle – Pasir Ris Park, Singapore
No Roads Barred

Butterfly of the Month - December 2016
Butterflies of Singapore

Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (02 Dec 2016)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Tigers, elephants, rambutans and Xu Beihong in a garden of foolish indulgences
The Long and Winding Road

Read more!

New opportunities for the public to experience kampung life on Pulau Ubin

NParks media release 3 Dec 16;

Singapore, 3 December 2016 — Members of the public will have new opportunities to experience kampung life, with the establishment of a new fruit tree arboretum and conservation of a Chinese kampung house on Pulau Ubin. These announcements come at the end of a year-long series of activities to “Celebrate Ubin”, and represent NParks’ commitment to further conserve the cultural heritage and rustic character of the island. Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs & National Development, Desmond Lee, together with Grassroots Adviser for East Coast GRC (Siglap), Senior Minister of State for Defence & Foreign Affairs and Mayor of South East District, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman joined Ngee Ann Polytechnic students to plant fruit trees today to officially open the fruit tree arboretum. At the event, SMS Lee shared updates to species recovery efforts and habitat enhancement projects under The Ubin Project, and launched NParks Community In Nature Biodiversity Watch: BioBlitz @ Ubin – the first 24-hour survey to document biodiversity on the island.

SMS Lee also announced that NParks will be calling a tender in December for the provision and maintenance of a water treatment system at the Ubin Living Lab for educational groups, researchers, community groups and members of the public utilising the space. The tender will also include the installation and maintenance of compact Point-of-Use water treatment systems to be installed at public toilets at Chek Jawa Wetlands, campsites and other areas. These systems are expected to be completed by mid-2018.

New fruit tree arboretum and restored Chinese ‘Kampung’ house

Situated along Jalan Ubin, the fruit tree arboretum on Pulau Ubin will be the first of its kind in Singapore. Named ‘Ubin Fruit Orchard’, the site was previously a fruit orchard belonging to a resident on the island. About one hectare in size, the arboretum will feature fruits commonly planted in kampungs such as rambutan and starfruit. It will also showcase uncommon cultivars of durian and mango. Students from Nanyang Girls’ High prepared interpretive signs and students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic assisted with planting works for the arboretum.

Overlooking the Sensory Trail Ponds, House 363B has been refurbished and conserved as a model of a Chinese kampung house. Built in the 1970s, the house was owned by Mr Chew Teck Seng, who used to operate a provision shop in the village centre known as ‘Teck Seng Provision Shop’. Renamed ‘Teck Seng’s Place’, the house features interpretive signs and specially-curated memorabilia to give visitors a glimpse into life on Pulau Ubin in the 1970s. The house will be open on the 2nd and 4th weekend of the month and public holidays, from 10.00am – 2.00pm.

The Ubin Fruit Orchard and Teck Seng’s Place will be included as highlights of NParks’ new Rustic Reflections Tour, held monthly from next year. Members of the public can visit NParks’ website ( for updates on how to register for the guided tour. For more information about Ubin Fruit Orchard and Teck Seng’s Place, please refer to Annex A.

Updates to initiatives under The Ubin Project

A) Species recovery efforts

About 60 students from ITE College East and Republic Polytechnic have partnered NParks to complete works for the bird and bat species recovery programmes. ITE College East students aided in works at Ketam Mountain Bike Park to facilitate species recovery efforts for the Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis) and Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). They built nest boxes for the Blue-throated Bee-eater, and planted Casuarina and Red Gum trees in the area to provide suitable nesting spots for the Baya Weaver. For the bat recovery programme, students from Republic Polytechnic produced three out of six bat box designs, which have since been fabricated into 30 bat boxes and installed across Pulau Ubin. Students from ITE College East also helped to construct five bat boxes. These boxes will provide places for insectivorous bats to roost.

As part of species recovery efforts for the Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus), two holts have been installed at Jalan Noordin and near the Sensory Trail Ponds to monitor and study otter behaviour. Though the otters have not been observed using the holts yet, a group of 10 were recorded via camera trap in late October 2016 – a notable occurrence as this is the first video record of the species in Singapore.

Monitoring for these species is ongoing, and further results will be shared at a later date.

B) Habitat enhancement

NParks has partnered Ngee Ann Polytechnic students to complete habitat enhancement works at the Sensory Trail Ponds. Formerly used for fish farming, the four ponds have been combined into a single waterbody to provide habitats for biodiversity. The students helped to design and implement the planting plan for fauna such as waterhens, crakes, herons, kingfishers dragonflies and damselflies. Works were completed in November.

For more information about species recovery efforts and habitat enhancement projects, please refer to Annex B.

NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Biodiversity Watch: BioBlitz @ Ubin

From 3 Dec (1200hrs) to 4 Dec (1200hrs), NParks will be conducting Pulau Ubin’s first BioBlitz as part of the NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Biodiversity Watch series. Over 24 hours, members of the public will join naturalists and researchers to document biodiversity found on Pulau Ubin.

During this timeframe, some 30 surveys will be conducted on a variety of fauna including mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. These surveys will be led by about 35 naturalists and researchers from NParks, Nature Society (Singapore), Herpetological Society of Singapore, Entomological Network of Singapore, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nature @ Seletar Country Club. The data gleaned from this BioBlitz will help set the ground for a comprehensive biodiversity survey of Pulau Ubin next year. The event was also organised to encourage the community to learn more about Pulau Ubin’s natural heritage and contribute to organised research efforts as citizen scientists. For more information about BioBlitz @ Ubin, please refer to Annex C.

Take a trip back in time on new Pulau Ubin tour
Zhaki AbdullahThe Straits Times AsiaOne 4 Dec 16;

Walk through a furnished kampung house complete with a 1970s copy of The Straits Times and mosquito net-covered bed, or stroll through a durian and starfruit orchard.

Visitors to Pulau Ubin can now revisit Singapore's kampung days, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The Ubin Fruit Orchard and Teck Seng's Place - a refurbished 1970s Chinese kampung house - are some of the attractions on the new Rustic Reflections tour, announced yesterday by the National Parks Board (NParks) at the end of its year-long Celebrate Ubin campaign, which highlighted the island's rich animal and plant life and history.

"The tour is very good... for Singaporeans to experience the heritage of the past," said NParks deputy director for Pulau Ubin Choi Yook Sau.

A 10-minute walk from the jetty, Teck Seng's Place was built in the 1970s by Mr Chew Teck Seng, who owned a provision shop in the island's village centre.Previously known as House 363B, the home has been furnished with items donated by Ubin residents and other members of the public, aimed at evoking earlier times.

Among the items are a Rediffusion radio and a dry food cabinet used to preserve food before refrigerators became common.

The house is open to the public on the second and fourth weekend of each month, and on public holidays, between 10am and 2pm.

It will also be open on the third Saturday of each month as part of the Rustic Reflections tour, which is expected to start next year.

The 1ha orchard will feature around 350 fruit trees from 30 different species, including rambutan and starfruit, once commonly found in kampungs.

Student volunteers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic helped plant some of the trees, while Nanyang Girls' High students produced signs about them.

Ubin resident Chu Yok Choon said the orchard was a good addition that would help educate younger visitors about the island's heritage.

"In the past, almost every house used to have its own garden and fruit trees," said the 71-year-old grassroots leader, who has lived on the island all his life.The tour will also feature stops at a new sensory trail pond, made up of former fish farming ponds redesigned to attract wildlife such as herons and kingfishers, as well as an existing Malay kampung house.

"Through these initiatives, there will be more opportunities for the public to get a glimpse of kampung life on the island, and experience life as it used to be on Ubin," said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee, who planted a durian tree to mark the orchard's opening.

Later this month, a tender will be called for a water treatment system to be installed and maintained at the Ubin Living Lab, which is used by researchers and visitors, as well as compact water treatment systems for public toilets at the Chek Jawa wetlands and other areas.

Read more!

Food waste recycling machines wanted for 10 schools

Channel NewsAsia 2 Dec 16;

SINGAPORE: A tender for food waste recycling machines for 10 schools across Singapore was issued on Friday (Dec 2), the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

In its press release, NEA said companies can submit their proposals for the leasing, service and maintenance of these machines for the schools. This is part of an NEA project to spread awareness of food waste management and encourage schools to reduce the amount of food waste they generate and dispose of.

The agency added that under NEA’s two-year food waste reduction and recycling project for schools, training will be provided by the vendor for the schools’ staff, students and canteen stall holders on the proper segregation of food waste for recycling.

On top of segregating food waste for recycling, participating schools will hold assembly talks to encourage students not to waste food and host learning journeys for neighbouring schools and their community partners to share their food waste reduction and recycling efforts.

This project is part of NEA’s holistic efforts to manage food waste and is in line with its goal for Singapore to become a Zero Waste Nation under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015.

The tender will open from Friday and will close at 4pm on Dec 23. The project is expected to be launched by the second quarter of 2017, NEA said.

- CNA/kk

Read more!

Malaysia: Almost 60 people evacuated as flood waters rise in Perak

INTAN BAHA New Straits Times 3 Dec 16;

IPOH: Two flood evacuation centres were opened in two districts at Kampung Pengkalan Ara, Sungai Manik; and in Kampung Padang Serai, Pantai Remis, near here involving 59 people from 14 families, who were evacuated as of 6pm today.

The flood, triggered due to non-stop rain since yesterday, caused water to rise up to 0.4 metres in both villages.

At Kampung Padang Serai 21 residents from five families were evacuated to the temporary evacuation centre at Sekolah Rendah Agama Rakyat Kampung Padang Serai, which was opened at 11pm last night. Meanwhile, the evacuation centre at SK Pengkalan Ara, Sungai Manik was opened at 1pm, housing 38 victims from nine families.

Pantai Remis Fire and Rescue Department chief Amir Ahmad said the victims at Kampung Padang Serai vacated their homes last night when the water level rose.

“The flood was due to incessant rain which started in the evening until late night yesterday. The water has yet to recede this morning.

“The victims involved nine men and 12 women from five families,” he said. Meanwhile, a Disaster Management state secretariat spokesman said that in Kampung Pengkalan Ara, Sungai Manik, 38 residents from nine families were evacuated to the temporary evacuation centre. “They comprised 14 men, 13 women and eleven children.

“Various agencies are monitoring the flood situation. Everything is under control for now,” he said.

MARANG: Continuous heavy rainfall since Tuesday has forced Terengganu fishermen to stay ashore this week due to the choppy waters.

As a result, a sharp drop in the supply of fresh catch has forced fishermongers to take the opportunity to hike the price of frozen fish or fish from aquaculture farms.

Checks at the Marang jetty here showed that it is dotted with fishing vessels as most fishermen are taking the 'monsoon leave' and would only return to the sea when the
weather has improved.

Fisherman Hamed Hamzah Awang, 57, said all fishermen would adhere to the weather report from the Meteorological Department first before going to sea.

He said the weather forecast this week was quite negative due to heavy rainfall which was posing a potential hazard to fishermen.

"The monsoon came a bit late this year. Since the heavy rains this week coincided with the start of school holiday, I take the opportunity to bring my children to buy
new attire in the city," he said when met at the jetty.

Another fisherman, Ibrahim Safuan, 49, who returned from the sea on Wednesday said the waves were as high as five metres and the catch was also little.

He said it was too risky and not worth the price of fuel to go to the sea.

Checks at the Pulau Kambing and Pasar Payang fish market showed only limited fish available, which are mainly frozen fish or that from aquaculture farms.

Medium-sized grouper is tagged at RM30 per kilogramme while snapper and sea bass are sold at RM20 per kg.

For frozen sardine and kembong, it is priced from RM8 per kg for small fish.

State Fisheries Department director Zawawi Ali urged all fishermen to refer to the fisheries officers in every coastal districts for weather information before going out to the seas.

He said the sea conditions at present could pose danger to small and medium fishing vessels.

Meanwhile in KOTA BARU, the number of displaced people in Kelantan now stood at 42, with two new centres being opened in Bachok district.

Evacuees at the SK Wakaf Raja in Pasir Putih, which was the first centre opened yesterday remained at 26 people while the new centres at SMK Jelawat in Gunong and SMK
Beris Panchor in Tawang four and 12 people respectively, according to the Kelantan e-banjir portal website.

As at noon, four people from two families have been placed at SMK Jelawat and 12 people from four families were sheltering at SMK Beris Panchor.

The water level at all measuring points in the state showed a rising trend, with Golok river at Rantau Panjang recording 8.96m, just below the danger level of 9m.

Terengganu fishermen grounded due to monsoon, prices of fish rising

River swallows T'ganu bridge, 200 villagers cut off
ZARINA ABDULLAH New Straits Times 2 Dec 16;

SETIU: The overflowing Setiu river inundated a bridge in Kampung Seri Bayas here last night, effectively cutting off residents of the village from the outside world.

Heavy rains yesterday caused the river's water level to rise dramatically, exceeding the height of the bridge by up to two metres. 200 villagers from 70 families are now disconnected and isolated from other districts.

Setiu Civil Defence Department officer Mohd Nazri Zakaria said the river's water level began rising steadily at midnight.

Nazri said the villagers have not been evacuated, but personnel from the department are on standby and monitoring the situation very closely.

Floods inundate village, rest of Terengganu brace for heavy rainfall
SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 2 Dec 16;

DUNGUN: Twenty people from five families were evacuated to a flood relief centre at Dewan Kampung Cacar Baru in Paka here as their village was inundated by knee-high flood waters.

Heavy rainfall since early morning caused massive flooding in the village, which is just about two kilometres from the coast.

National Disaster Management Agency (Dungun) spokesman Ramlan Ros Wahid said the centre opened at 11.30am after flood waters kept rising at the houses of affected villagers.

"Rain water had been accumulating at the low-lying village for days. It has nothing to do with the tides.

"We will continue to monitor the situation before allowing the villages to go back," he said.

This is the only centre which is open in the state. Meanwhile, the Kuala Terengganu City Council has hired contract workers to clean up all clogged drains in flood-prone areas in the city as a proactive measure to prevent floods in future.

A council spokesman urged the people to stop disposing garbage into drains, as this would exacerbate flooding problems.

"We have cleared quite a number of clogged drains so far, and hope this will do away with the flash flood problem," he said.

Read more!

Indonesia: Ministry Recovers More Than a Million Hectares of Forests in 2016

Indriani Jakarta Globe 3 Dec 16;

Jakarta. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry's law enforcement efforts have shown positive signs in eradication environmental crimes across the country, recovering more than a million hectares and preventing at least 22 instances of illegal logging during the past year.

"As seen from the last 17 operations conducted throughout 2016, the ministry managed to recover approximately 1,058,538 hectares of land. If combined with the 27 operations conducted last year, approximately 4,131,736 hectares of land has recovered," Rasio Ridho Sani, director general of law enforcement at the Environment and Forestry Ministry, said in Jakarta on Friday (02/12).

The ministry's law enforcement efforts to prevent destruction and protect forest conservation areas, protected forests and production forests is based on a map of a forest crime vulnerability, Rasio said. Prevention and security include information dissemination, regular patrols and recovery operations.

He added recovery operation in forest areas, which cover 4 million hectares, are conduction to combat illegal logging and illegal use of forests for plantations, mining, resettlement and agricultural cultivation.

Recovery operations have launched in 44 locations across the country, including Mount Leuser National Park, Mount Halimun Salak National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, Lore Lindu and Mount Rinjani National Park and Airhitam Natural Park.

Plant and wildlife distribution operations has conducted in various forest areas and the nearby vicinity, with 4,666 animals of 34 protected wildlife species targeted in 2016. This is an increase from the previous year, with 21 protected species being saved.

This year, 22 anti-illegal logging operations has saved 647 cubic meters of timber, in 32 sites around the country.

The operations were successful with the help of approximately 8,300 forest police officers and 543 members of the ministry's rapid response unit.

Read more!

Philippines: Red tide surfaces in 7 Visayas bays


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte: Red tide toxins remain in seven bays in Eastern Visayas, prompting authorities to raise the shellfish ban in some coastal towns in the region to prevent poisoning, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported.

For several months, the contamination has been thriving in Irong Irong and Cambatutay bays in Samar; Carigara Bay in Leyte; coastal waters of Leyte, Leyte; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; and coastal waters of Naval, Biliran.

The phenomenon expanded to Calubian, Leyte last week.

BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo warned that all types of shellfish taken from affected bays in the region are positive of red tide toxins.

He said red tide toxins found in these seven bays are beyond the regulatory limit of 10 cells per liter in seawater and 49 saxitoxin per gram in shellfish meat.

In affected areas, the density is as high as 600 cells per liter in water and 129 saxitoxin per gram in meat.

“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption,” Albaladejo said.

“Thus, the public is advised to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing and buying shellfishes and Acetes sp. from Irong Irong Bay and Cambatutay Bay until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level,” he added.

Fish, squid, shrimp and crab are safe to eat “provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking,” according to BFAR.

With the recent spate of red tide bloom, the fisheries bureau asked local government units to enforce a shellfish ban to ensure public safety.

“We have been issuing local bulletins to inform local officials, but I have to admit that some are not really seriously enforcing the ban,” the BFAR regional chief said.

Earlier, the fisheries bureau lifted the shellfish ban in Maqueda and Villareal bays in Samar and Cancabato Bay in Leyte.

During the peak of red tide bloom this year, local authorities buried at least four tons of shellfish gathered in Samar province.


Read more!