Monday, December 28, 2009

Owners of protected animals have six months to register

December 28, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Owners of endangered species will be required to apply for permits from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) starting today.

The requirement — even for endangered species as pets — is the result of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 coming into force.

Perhilitan legislation and enfor­cement director Saharudin Anan said all owners of such species have six months beginning today to obtain the necessary permits.

“They have six months’ grace to register before enforcement begins,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Besides pet owners, pet shop owners and any other individuals who could be in possession of such species of animals will also have to obtain the necessary permits.

Common household pets which are on the endangered species list include tortoises such as the star and radiated tortoises. Other exotic pets such as imported snakes and reptiles are also covered.

Saharudin said registration was required under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) and the endangered specie list under the Act mirrors the lists of species under Cites.

Malaysia acceded to Cites on Oct 20, 1977, and the convention entered into force in Malaysia on Jan 18,1978.

Saharudin said: “Under the Act, endangered animals found to be without permits will be confiscated and the owners fined.”

Under the Act, possession of such animals without a permit could attract the owner a fine of a maximum of RM100,000 for each one found up to a total of RM1mil, or be sentenced to a maximum of seven year’s jail.

Corporate bodies and zoos found in violation can be fined from RM200,000 up to a total of RM2mil. Similar fines and jail sentences are provided for those who sell, advertise for sale or display to the public such species without permits.

The public can refer to Perhilitan’s website for more information.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Environmentally Friendly

Chinese has been synonym with all the rites, wastages and pollution. Here, we can see what we called "sustainable dead". Lets died sustainably. Be simple and for a friendly environment. Can you?
24 Dec 09

Sin Chew Daily reported an “environmentally friendly” wake held for local Chinese writer Yim Yoo Loon.

There was no burning of incense papers, joss sticks and loud chanting. Yim, a retired teacher, preached simplicity throughout his life. The wake was a reflection of his preaching – do not waste and do not pollute.

There was also no paper utensils used during the wake.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, who were there to pay their last respects, only bowed their heads in front of Yim’s portrait instead of using joss sticks.

Eldest daughter Yim Why Meng said the family tried their best to adhere to his request for simplicity but many people still sent wreaths to the house.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Turtle excluder devices may be made mandatory

The world should barred Malaysian prawn catchers' export. Only then these cruelty to turtle will end. Anybody listening?

Turtle hatchery at Pantai Kerachut, Penang National Park

December 19, 2009
Department: Turtle excluder devices may be made mandatory

GEORGE TOWN: The Fisheries Department is trying to find suitable nets with turtle excluder devices for local fishermen.

Fisheries Department’s Malaysia Marine Resources Management section head Ahmad Saktian Langgang said many countries were using the device which enable trapped turtles in prawn trawler nets to escape.

“We introduced the device years ago but feedback from local fishermen was not positive as they said it’s a burden for them when they haul their net.

“The department is not making the device compulsory among fishermen yet. But if situation gets critical, we will consider making it a requirement to renew their fishing licence,” he said after attending the Awareness and Education Programme on Endangered Fish Species at Taman Negara, Teluk Bahang on Thursday.

A turtle excluder device is less than RM1,000.

Malaysian prawn catchers were barred from exporting to the United States more than 10 years ago for not installing the device.

The department’s assistant fisheries officer Mohamad Zabawi Saat said there were 25 turtle sightings in Penang this year.

A total of 82 nests were also found.

“With the help of non-governmental organisations and the private sector to create awareness on saving the turtles, statistics showed that there were less eggs found in the market compared to five years ago,” he said.

There are currenly four types of turtles found in the country - penyu belimbing or Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), penyu agar or green turtles (Chelonia mydas), penyu lipas or olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and penyu karah or Hawksbill turtles (Eret-mochelys imbricata).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Birding Trip in Peru

Ecotourism needs the support of the local communities. And this is one project that I find quite an idea. No, I am not taking part to join the free trip. I just love this man's idea of promoting ecotourism for the conservation of nature.
Read more about it below:-


It is no joke! You can actually get a birding trip in Peru for FREE. The idea is to promote community birding tourism initiatives and by giving away some free trips (14 trips in total still available) it will hopefully bring the sufficient PR to the area so that both the sustainability of the give-away and the future as birding destination is secured.

The Manu itinerary is supporting the communities in the threatened (by oil exploit, mining and logging) Amarakaeri Communal reserve. The itinerary goes down the Alto Madre de Dios and Madre de Dios rivers to the Macaw lick and Giant Otter Cocha at Blanquillo, just like any other birding/nature tour circuit in the area. Four different community lodges are used instead of more well known lodges.

The other itinerary is located in th Central Peru combining two itineraries Carpish and Satipo road into one concentrating on the highlights of both areas. It is the idea that it sometime during 2010 will be possible to do the trip without camping, as the communities are investing in lodging oportunities for birders. We'd like to support these efforts by sending many groups immediately.

Giving a way free trips like this, to people able to spread the word of these areas, should benefit both hopefully very fast, so that the communities don't get bored with eco-tourism and conservation before we start.

It is all explained in my regular blog.

or this short link.

Just follow the instructions.

NGOs: Enact wildlife laws quickly

Dec 17, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: As the Year of the Tiger approaches, impassioned calls are being made to the government to sharpen its legal claws for greater protection of wildlife.

Already, three non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have called for a stronger and more comprehensive wildlife law.

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and WWFMalaysia want the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 to be amended at the next Parliament session.

In a joint statement yesterday they noted that the legislation, meant to protect wildlife against domestic threats like poaching, had failed to be a deterrent.

Instead, the legislation continued to allow wildlife criminals to escape justice, it said.

Nevertheless, the statement acknowledged that the government had addressed part of the problem, with the coming into force of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 in a week’s time.

“However, Malaysia also needs a strong legislation to combat wildlife crimes that occur inside the country.

“Amending the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 must be made a priority if our wildlife is to stand a chance,” said MNS executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong in the statement.

Meanwhile, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia acting director Chris R. Shepherd said only powerful tools such as strong legislation could enable the authorities to combat wildlife crimes effectively.

The three organisations urged the government not to delay the tabling of the law any further and hoped that all parties would give it the support it sorely needed. — Bernama


Calls for tougher wildlife law
Alyaa Alhadjri

PETALING JAYA (Dec 16, 2009): Wildlife organisations have called for the amendments to the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 to be passed at the next meeting of Parliament to ensure tougher measures to combat wildlife crimes in the country.

The campaign, led by Malaysian Nature Society, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and WWF-Malaysia, has received the support of 56,062 people from 161 countries.

Current legislation is considered inadequate for defending wildlife against domestic threats like poaching, and wildlife criminals continue to escape justice.

Part of the problem is being addressed with the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 which will come into force in a week’s time.

"This new law, which governs the import and export of wildlife, is timely. However, Malaysia also needs a strong legislation to combat wildlife crime that occurs inside the country," MNS executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong said.

"Therefore, amending the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 (Act 76) must be made a priority if our wildlife is to stand a chance," said Loh.

TRAFFIC Southeast Asia acting director Chris R, Shepherd said only with strong legislation will authorities be able to effectively combat wildlife crimes.

Cops seize 62 pangolins after fortnight stakeout

December 17, 2009

MUAR: After keeping watch on the activities of a group for two weeks, marine police here swooped in on them and seized 62 pangolins valued at over RM100,000.

Some 31 live pangolins were found in two cars near a house in Taman Tasik Ria in Tangkak and in the living room of a house while another 31 frozen pangolins were found in a freezer in the kitchen.

Muar marine police officer Insp Mohd Naser Marzuke said the team also seized the two cars used to transport the animals in the 9pm raid on Tuesday.

“Our team was monitoring the movements of suspects believed to be involved with pangolin smuggling and spotted their cars in Tangkak.

“However, when the team followed the cars to a house, the men abandoned the cars and fled,” he told reporters at the Muar marine police jetty yesterday.

Insp Mohd Naser said there were three men in each car but they managed to run to the back of the house and disappeared into the dark.

The team then checked the house and found 13 sacks with live pangolins in the living room and 31 frozen ones in a freezer.

All the pangolins were taken to the Muar marine police jetty before being surrendered to the Wildlife Department.

Meanwhile, Muar Wildlife and National Parks Department chief Mohd Faizal Moin said pangolins were protected animals and smugglers could be charged under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Licensing Issues Retarding Swiftlet Nest Industry

December 11, 2009
Licensing Issues Retarding Swiftlet Nest Industry

By Syed Azwan Syed Ali

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The edible swiftlet nest industry in this country is a highly lucrative one with the annual turnover reaching RM1 billion.

But a critical issue pertaining to the licensing of the swiftlet farms within buildings located in towns may retard the industry if no solution is found.

Local authorities are against the idea of having swiftlet farms in towns as they can cause nuisance to the public and pollute the environment.

But places like Sarawak, though the swiftlet farms are forbidden in towns, still has to find a solution for more than 1,500 illegal swiftlet farms. But any attempt to eradicate the illegal swiftlet farms will bring negative impact to the industry.

So what is the best option in solving this problem to ensure that the effort to boost the industry is not derailed?


The licensing issue cropped up in October last year after the authorities conducted an exercise to clear up illegal swiftlet farms in Mukah town.

The move by the authorities has put many swiftlet farm owners in a quandary and raised many questions on the way the exercise was carried out.

During the exercise the swiftlet chicks protected under the Wildlife Act 1972 were left to die in the nests that were confiscated by the authorities. Those annoyed with the move even posted the video on the chicks' fate on youtube.

The action taken by the local authorities has certainly ruffled some feathers, especially the swiftlet farmers.

Thus the Swiftlet Merchant Association in Mukah requested Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to help find a solution. The same request from the counterparts in Sibu and Sarikei followed suit.

The bottom line is that the farm owners wanted to continue operations in the existing premises with most of them being shoptlots.

But the local authorities are steadfast with their stand.


Despite the edible swiftlet nest's huge commercial potential, Sarawak's 1998 Wildlife Protection Ordinance prohibits the species from being bred in other than its natural habitat like the caves.

And this has made things difficult for the industry.

The director of Sarawak's Forestry Department who is also the Wildlife Controller for Sarawak Datuk Len Talif Salleh stressed that the state government wanted the industry to be developed in a controlled manner in accordance with the existing laws.

Len Talif pointed out about 100 licenses have been approved from the 600 to 700 applications received since May.

"Most of the licenses approved are for the "old-players" who conform to the prerequisites," said Len Talif when contacted by Bernama in Kuching.

"The rest were rejected as their proposed swiftlet farms are in towns," he said adding that enforcement measures will be taken against illegal swiftlet farms.

The licenses were issued for swiftlet farming in Mukah, Bintulu, Kuching, Kota Samarahan and Sarikei with all of the swiftlet farms in agricultural areas.


Nonetheless, the industry views the issuance of the licence as a positive development when looking at the situation prior to May this year where only two of the more than 1,500 swiftlet farms in the state were licensed.

Swiftlet farming also needs approval from agencies like the Land and Survey Department, the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) and the local authorities.

And the good news is that the state government is to build three swiftlet eco-parks in Mukah, Sarikei and Bintulu respectively with lots to be sold and rented out to those who are keen.

However, many are sceptical that the bird will nest at the eco-park and feared the bureaucratic hassle.


Thus this scepticism has prompted a big number of swiftlet farm owners to seek exemptions and continue with their activities in the existing premises in towns.

The swiftlet nest entrepreneurs also hope to adopt guidelines like the Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) for the swiftlets, so that they will be allowed to ply their trade within towns as done by their counterparts in Peninsula.

"We will follow this guideline," noted the protem chairman for the Sarikei Swiftlet Nest Merchants' Association Wong Hua Ting, which is in opposition to the state government's stand that the swiflet farming should only be carried out at agricultural areas or the proposed eco-park.

Swiftlet farming in populated areas could create pandemonium among the public especially when there are diseases involving this species of bird.

The Veterinary Services Department (VSD) has conducted more than 5,000 tests on the birds and have confirmed that the swiflet are free from bird flu and Newcastle disease.


The VSD is also preparing the guidelines on swiftlet farming and the draft proposals will be forwarded to the Steering Committee for the National Swiftlet Industry on Dec 14.

The guideline known as "1GP" makes it compulsory for swiftlet breeding premises to be registered with VSD.

However before the guideline could be adopted by the local authorities, it would be brought to the attention of the National Council on Local Government chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which is expected to meet March next year.

"The guideline will set the standard for all local governments. It will help traders and swiftlet farm owners to venture into this field in a more organised manner," said the chairman of the Federation of Swiftlet Nest Merchants' Associations Datuk Beh Heng Seong.


Regarding the guideline, Len Talif noted that the Sarawak state government is ready to adopt the guideline as long as it does not contradict with the state ordinance which would be continuously enforced.

He also gave assurance that in future the nests would not be confiscated and instead a compound will be issued and only the equipment used will be confiscated.

This development is seen as a positive indication pertaining to enforcement but this does not mean it has opened the doors for all to start swiftlet farms without authorisation.

The government wants to see 100,000 swiftlet farms producing 500 tonnes of the bird's nest annually worth RM5 billion by 2020.

The swiftlet nest from this country is of high quality and is highly sought after in China and Arab with the prices fetching up to RM10,000 per kilogram.

Thus the solution for this licensing issue is highly pertinent and all parties involved should work hand in hand to ensure that the edible bird nest industry remains vibrant and the nation stands at par with Indonesia and Thailand, the leading producers.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tales of water

Opinion 2009-12-08 11:53
My Sinchew

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said that in order to reduce business costs, the government may reduce electricity and water tariffs next year to safeguard the welfare of the industrial sector and consumers.

It is weird that just a few days ago, the Johor state government announced that water tariffs in Johor will be increased by 12% next year.

Even weird, water tariffs in Johor have already been the highest in the country and it is now heading towards the opposition direction and becomes more expensive.

According to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Johor, Sabah and Labuan are having the highest average domestic water tariff, which is 90 sen per cubic metre (m3). It is nearly two times as expensive as the average domestic water tariff (31 sen/m3) in Penang! As for the average industrial water tariff, Johor tops the list with RM2.93/m3, which is much more expensive than Selangor (RM1.91/m3) that ranked the second highest on the list. It is over two times as expensive as the average industrial water tariff in Sabah and Labuan (both 90 sen/m3)!

Don't forget that Johor also exports water. Its sells water to Singapore, as well as Malacca.

But in Malacca, both domestic and industrial water tariffs are (72 sen/m3 and RM1.40/m3 respectively) cheaper compared to Johor.

It is weird, isn't it?

x x x

Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once said: “Other policies have to kneel down in front of water.”

Putting ourselves in his shoes, we can understand Lee's feeling.

Singapore has to rely on water supply from Johor over the years. If they no longer renew the contract, Johor will stop supplying water to Singapore.

In fact, Singapore has long been ready. It has been looking for new water supply sources and doing researches and developments in water technology over the past 30 years.

In 2005, Singapore opened its first desalination plant to produce about 30 million gallons of water per day.

A greater achievement was made in 2002 when Singapore unveiled its NEWater to meet 35% of its water needs.

Hyflux Group and its founder Olivia Lum should be mentioned here when we are talking about NEWater.

Olivia Lum, Singapore's Queen of Water, who helped Singapore to get rid of “water crisis” used to be a Malaysian orphan but she is now a Singapore citizen.

It is surprising, isn't it?

x x x

In fact, we should review and reflect.

Scientists said that due to the impact of global warming, the Himalayan glaciers are gradually melting, causing 1.3 billion of Asian people to face a water crisis.

Perhaps we are still far from the end of the world but it may be our future to suffer a water crisis.

Don't let our tears to be the last drop of water! (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)