Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wildlife smuggled under garlic

April 26, 2009
The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A wildlife official says Malaysian authorities have rescued more than 800 turtles and 160 protected snakes from being smuggled on a truck under a load of garlic to mask their smell.

Masnim Abdullah, from the wildlife department in northern Perlis state, says customs officers near the Thai border on Saturday confiscated 160 king cobras and 814 turtles, including protected Malayan box turtles.

Wildlife - many times destined for restaurants abroad - is often smuggled out of Malaysia.

Masnim says the reptiles were hidden in bags under 2.3 tons of garlic. They have been released back into the jungle.

He says the Thai driver has been taken into custody and could face charges that carry a maximum three-year prison term.-AP

Friday, April 24, 2009

Armed poachers brutally attack forest officer

April 24, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: They normally hunt and kill animals in the wild but this time, a group of poachers brutally attacked a remote Forestry Department camp and left a senior officer seriously injured.

Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said some 20 people armed with machetes, hockey sticks, samurai swords, hunting knives and brass knuckles attacked the camp in the remote Ulu Segama-Malua forest reserve.

He said district forest officer Indra Sunjoto was dragged, slashed, beaten and left unconscious in the 9pm incident on April 2. Indra was badly bruised and sustained a deep gash in the head that required several stitches.

Mannan said police could not be alerted immediately as the wireless phone service in Ulu Segama had broken down.

He said that as an immediate measure, the police had deployed General Operations Force personnel to the forest reserve which was undergoing extensive reforestation work.

Soon after the attack, police in Lahad Datu arrested two men.

Mannan said the Forestry Department had also engaged a security firm with armed personnel to guard the base camp and forest rangers carrying out patrols.

As a long-term measure, the department is applying for a gun licence so that field personnel in critical areas can defend themselves, he said.

Apart from attacking Indra, Mannan said the rampaging poachers also ransacked the staff quarters, carting away food, meat and motorcycles.

The attack may have been triggered by Indra having stopped a poacher earlier that day who managed to escape but left behind fresh deer meat and a motorcycle, he added.

He said the attackers were believed to be a group of men who had been habitually entering the forest reserve to hunt for deer and other protected species including elephants and clouded leopards.

Mannan said prior to the attack there had been skirmishes between the illegal hunters and staff members of Yayasan Sabah, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Forestry Department.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Survey on plastic bag ban in Penang

April 21, 2009

PENANG will conduct a survey over the next few months before deciding on whether to ban the use of plastic bags in the state.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state would adopt a ‘progressive approach’ to formulate a solution that was acceptable to everyone.

He said this when opening the ‘Plastic Bag: To Ban, or Not to Ban?’ public forum at the Penang Caring Complex on Sunday.

“We want to strongly emphasise the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

“If you only focus on recycling, you are merely minimising the problem as opposed to solving it,” he added.

“This forum is part of our efforts to get the stakeholders’ feedback before we develop a comprehensive policy that will accommodate different aspects of solid waste management including public health, cultural, environmental, economic developments as well as social capital and equity aspects in society,” he said.

Lim added that a recent check by the state on six major supermarkets and hypermarkets in Penang showed that a total of 25.2 million plastic bags were distributed last year to consumers.

“This amount doesn’t include the millions used by other retailers and hawkers.

“Tourists complain that Penang is dirty with plastic bags littering the streets, drains, rivers, beaches and sea. Hence, there is a need to take action now,” he said.

“Our local municipal councils have a recycling rate of 33% which is among the highest in the country but the state currently generates about 1,500 to 1,600 tons of waste per day.

“At this rate, we will have used up our existing landfill site soon,” he warned, adding that in 2006, solid waste management cost constituted up to 20% of the Penang Municipal Council’s revenue collection.

“This cost continues to escalate as our waste generation increases year by year. We need to find solutions to reduce our solid waste management bill,” he said, noting that plastic bags were widely used because they were “acceptable, available and affordable.”

“They are cheap, useful, and plentiful, which brings about the problem of excessive usage and injudicious dumping of an otherwise useful product,” he said.

In his presentation, Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association president and Malaysian Plastics Forum chairman Lim Kok Boon said plastic as a product, contributed positively to the environment and society.

“However, plastic waste, just like any other waste, must be properly managed. Banning plastic is not the answer; the 3Rs approach is,” he said.

In his closing speech, Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said this was the first time such a dialogue had been held.

“The issue of whether to ban the usage of plastic shopping bags is complex as it effects all levels of society.

“The state will consider all suggestions seriously and carefully,” he said, adding that the focus was now was on public awareness and educational campaign.

The five-hour dialogue saw some 200 participants resolving to support efforts to minimise the excessive usage of disposable plastic bags.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rescued baby orangutan finds a new home

April 15, 2009
The Star

KUCHING: A baby orang utan which had been rescued from captivity was handed over to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre here Wednesday.

The six-month-old male animal was rescued by retired soldier Kanang Langkau and his friend Tay Choon Yong, both from Sri Aman.

Tay said he was driving through Lingga bazaar near Sri Aman, about 200km from here, last Friday when he came across a boy playing with the baby orang utan by the roadside.

“I don’t know how the boy got hold of the orang utan but I suspect that it was being kept as a pet,” he said.

He persuaded the boy to give him the baby orang utan by telling him that it could not be kept as a pet and that it probably would not survive in captivity.

Tay then called Kanang to inform him about the baby orang utan and Kanang proposed sending it to Semenggoh where it would be taken care of.

The two of them drove here Wednesday to hand the animal over to Sarawak Forestry staff at Semenggoh and requested it be named Simanggang, the old name for Sri Aman division where it was found.

Kanang said this was the first time he had seen a baby orang utan.

“In my 25 years serving in the jungle during my army days, I never came across a baby orang utan.

“They’re so rare and we need to protect them so that our grandchildren can still see them in the future,” he said.

Sarawak Forestry Chief Park Warden Wilfred Landong said the baby orang utan would be sent to Matang Wildlife Centre for rehabilitation.

“The ultimate objective is to get it back into the wild again. In future, we may release it at Kubah National Park, where Matang Wildlife Centre is located, or at Semenggoh,” he said.

He added that special care would have to be given to the baby as it was without its mother.

“We’ll see if we can find it a surrogate mother at Matang,” he said.

Landong said Sarawak Forestry would investigate how the baby orang utan ended up in captivity.

“If there is any need to take action, the appropriate action will be taken. But our immediate concern is to rehabilitate the baby orang utan,” he said, adding that Sarawak Forestry conducts ongoing awareness programmes to educate rural communities about orang utan.

He also said Sarawak Forestry would send a team to Lingga to find out whether there was any previously unknown orang utan habitat in the area.

“We’re very interested whether there’s a new habitat there. If yes, we will propose steps to protect the area,” he said.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Disgrace to All Scouts

I was a scout too, ok. Then a scout master when I was a teacher. So I know what I am talking. I never learn or teach about what you are going to see below...the massive destruction at Templer’s Park, Selangor. Education that gone cuckoo. A real disgrace to all scouts and a disgrace to Victorian Institution. See for yourself.

The first picture above is the most disheartening. A huge tree was chopped just to build a "dam". Check the second picture on the "stupid" dam.

Above: The red pointer on the right is the chopped tree and the "stupid" dam. The left pointer is the chopped tree of the picture above.

Above: There were many trees being chopped. I managed to snap some along the trail.

Above: The Templer's Park waterfall is 40 minutes from the bottom. Do you think anyone will empty this dustbin? The mess created by the 5D4N camping trip. Picture taken on the 4th day.

Above: The scouts were bored. They continued making gadgets with wood from the trees although they will be going home the next day.

Above: Trees chopped and the leftover.

Above: Rubbish and the branches from trees.

Above: They brought wood too but discarded with a protruding nail waiting for an accident.

Above: Eggs were thrown along the trail. Rich and pampered kids?

Above: Cut and discarded. Must be happy parang jokers. Cut whatever.

Above: One of the camps.

Above: So many trees chopped.

Above: They used saw too.

Above: A hardworking scout.

Above: Gone...botak lah.

I was told there were about 30 scouts from the senior and junior troop. They camped for 5D4N and the last day was 22nd Mac 09. Pictures taken on 21st Mac 09. The scout master (Wan Khairul) was not around when I was there. On 23rd (Monday), I was at the Forestry Department to relate the incident but my report was not taken seriously.

When I was a scout, we sang, we cook, we spent time on rope knots, we trained on first aid, we played games, we swam, we exchanged jokes, we entertained ourselves. Not this elite school called VI. They must be bored to dead. They just chopped whatever. Destroying our forest. Destroy our pristine jungle. And in catchment area too.

Such is the education of today in Bolehland....that gone cuckoo! A disgrace.


Big fine for river polluters

April 1, 2009

THE Department of Environment will slap a big fine next month against those caught polluting Penang’s Sungai Pinang, one of the sixth most polluted rivers in the country.

State Health, Welfare, Caring and Environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh declined to reveal the amount, saying it had not been finalised yet.

He warned polluters to think twice about committing the offence again.

“We have a list of car workshops, petrol stations and factories that discharge effluents directly into the river.

“The biggest polluter is a slaughter house,” he said when contac-ted yesterday.

Phee stressed that imposing of the fine would only be done as a last resort.

“For the whole of this month, we will spread awareness on the effects of pollution, educating the public and warning people not to throw things into the river,” he said.

He said the state government would soon meet up with owners of factories along the river bank.

“We will also talk to the people including residents to stop dum-ping discards into the river.

“They have to know that they’re the ones to be imme- diately affected by the stench and flash floods when it rains heavily,” he said.

He said the authorities would ask the slaughter house operator to work with Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd to reduce discharge into the river.

Phee said he had asked the Penang Municipal Council to use the Effective Microorganism (EM) solutions to treat the sludge inside the mud instead of merely using surface treatment.

“We’ll also increase the number of rubbish bins to enable residents to throw their trash in appropriate places.

“The river has such potential that it can be transformed into an eco-tourism spot where people can canoe and enjoy a walk along it,” he said.

Phee said the state would carry out the River Rangers programme in primary and secondary schools to educate children on pollution- related issues.

“The programme will train children to be the eyes and ears on river conditions and report them to the authority. They can also play an influential role in their families.

“We’ve received clearance from the Education Ministry and we’ll start working with the state Education Department on the programme immediately,” he said.