Friday, July 31, 2009

TEMENGGOR FOREST: Declare it a non-logging area

TEMENGGOR FOREST: Declare it a non-logging area

I REFER to two reports on the Temenggor forest -- "MNS: Make Temenggor off-limits to loggers" (NST, July 20) and "Perak ready to talk about forest status" (NST, July 23) -- and the ongoing debate on whether logging should be allowed in the forest.

As an ecologist who has been working in Temenggor since the 1990s, I would like to record my personal views, based on my experience working on the Temenggor Lake ecosystem and its watershed areas.

I support the Malaysian Nature Society's suggestion that the Perak government adopt the recommendation of the National Physical Policy that the Temenggor forest should be a non-logging area.

My team from Universiti Sains Malaysia can provide scientific evidence to strengthen their recommendations.

It is rather unfortunate that, unlike the Royal Belum State Park, the Temenggor Forest Reserve continues to be open to logging. It is also strange that a watershed area has been placed under Environmentally Sensitive Area Rank 11, meaning sustainable logging can be carried out.

I am a little sceptical as to whether we really understand the meaning of "sustainable".

Some of these rivers and streams in the Temenggor forest that were once believed to among the best sites for kelah (Tor tambroides) and temoleh (Probarbus jullieni) fishing have been heavily damaged.

The kelah and temoleh feeding and spawning sites are now gone.

The massive erosion from logging sites is gradually degrading these aquatic ecosystems.

The destruction is not only to the river systems but also affects the whole lake ecosystem.

I strongly feel that the Perak menteri besar is aware of this environmental catastrophe. I hope that Perak can work out a concrete management plan for the whole of the Temenggor ecosystem. This would turn Perak into a model state for environmental conservation.

School of Biological Sciences,
Universiti Sains Malaysia

(New Straits Times, 28 Julai 2009, Page 18, Letters to the editor)
Where is Temenggor Forest? Check here

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Need for more environmental activitism

July 28, 2009
Need for more environmental activitism

KOTA KINABALU: More environmental activism is needed in Malaysia to ensure elected leaders are more conscious of environmental concerns.

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor said elected leaders needed to made more concerned about the environment and promote such issues in Parliament.

“We have a senator who speaks for the diabled but there is no one representing the environment,” he said in response to a question following a lecture on environmental issues at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here Tuesday.

Dr Salleh said environmental activitism could come in various forms including the setting up of a “green party,” which he said he was not promoting.

“But what I’m promoting is the need for all our wakil rakyat (elected representatives) to be more environmentally concerned,” he added.

Dr Salleh said among the pressing environmental issues in the country was the loss of its biodiversity partly due to the clearing of forests and wetlands for plantations.

He said in his term as director-general of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia from 1977-95, a species of tree became extinct as a result of wetlands being cleared for oil palm plantations.

“We have denied our future generations the opportunity to explore the potential of that particular tree,” Dr Salleh said, adding that it was saddening that this was happening in a country considered to be one of the world biodiversity hotspots.

He said the state of Sabah in the Borneo island had been subjected to “excessive logging” for many years, leaving only “pockets of pristine rainforests” in conservation areas such as the Danum Valley and the Maliau Basin.

Noting that large tracts of forested areas had been converted to tree plantations, Dr Salleh said there was still insufficient research on the impact of such large scale conversions on the environment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Penan blockades

Sad news from Sarawak. The Penan has been suffering. The last remaining forest (in that region) will be gone soon...and politicians keep raping...and justice in sight...
July 24, 2009 MYT 2:59:00 PM
Standoff between Penans and loggers in Borneo eases

MIRI: Semi-nomadic Penans and timber workers involved in tense logging disputes in two different locations in Ulu Baram in northern Sarawak have retreated from the timber-blockade flash-points on police advice.

The disputing parties did not want to aggravate tension in disputes where the usually peaceful Penans had picked up spears and parangs to prevent loggers from entering what they claim were their ancestral lands, according to Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).

SAM field officer for Sarawak, Jok Jau Evong, told The Star Friday that according to the latest reports from deep in the interior was that the Penan protestors had laid down their arms after the timber workers at the sites agreed not to proceed with their logging operations in the disputed territories.
''The standoff has eased. The police are at the site and they have the situation under control. The timber companies have withdrawn their workers and machinery from the sites.
''The Penan protestors have also cooled down. They are still there at the vicinity of the blockade sites but they are just sitting around.
''The timber workers said they are only following directives from their company bosses. If they were instructed not to proceed, they will not go any further. For now, the tension has eased,'' he said.
Asked if this meant the timber companies had aborted their plans to carry out further logging in the forests where the Penans claimed their ancestral heritage was, Jok said he had no answer.
He said that only the companies concerned would know what they intended to do now following the dispute.
The anti-logging protests at Ba'Marong and Long Paloh, some 300kms inland from Miri, had reached boiling point.
The Penans, who claim that their forests were being ravaged by loggers, blocked access roads into the forests with logs and timber debris to prevent heavy machinery and timber trucks from entering and leaving.
They guarded the blockades armed with spears and parangs.
Baram police chief Deputy Supt Jonathan Jalin was outstation and could not comment on the dispute.
However, a check with his officers at the Marudi police station showed that policemen and General Operations Force personnel who had been deployed to the blockade sites are still there.


July 22, 2009
New Penan blockades as anti-logging protests flare up again

MIRI: Anti-logging protests have flared up again in the interior jungles of northern Sarawak where the semi-nomadic Penans live.

Two incidents of timber blockades have occurred in the Ulu Baram district, one in the upper reaches near Long Lama Village, some 300km from here, and another near Long Paloh in the middle region of the district, some 100km from Marudi town.

Sources told The Star yesterday that police in Long Lama and Marudi received reports about anti-logging protests by the Penans and have visited the sites.

No arrest has been made.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer for Sarawak Jok Jau Evong confirmed yesterday that his office had received information from the Penans in the two areas that blockades were erected across roads used by loggers to transport heavy machinery into the jungles and access roads used to ferry logs out of the jungles.

He said there were 40 Penans staging a protest in Ba’Marong, a Penan settlement on a tributary of Sungai Tutoh, which is three hours journey by timber road from Long Lama.

“The Penan chief there, Sagung Nyipa, said the Penans from Long Nen village are also joining in the protest,” he said.

“The other protest is in Long Paloh, upstream of Sungai Patah. There are about 30 Penan men, women and children at this blockade site.

The protest in Ba’Marong is against logging operations being carried out by a Sibu-based timber consortium while the one in Long Paloh is against a Miri-based timber giant.

The protests have been peaceful.

The two private companies are also involved in property construction, road construction, oil palm projects and heavy industrial projects throughout Sarawak.

“The Penan chiefs told us that they have no choice but to resort to the blockades to stop the logging,” Jok said.

This is because their land rights have been violated and their daily source of food and water have also been destroyed.

He added that the forest reserves in Long Paloh are the last remaining forests for the Penans in that region.

No hunting of sambar and barking deer for two years

Dept: No hunting of sambar and barking deer for two years
July 22, 2009

PETALING JAYA: The hunting of sambar and barking deer will be stopped for two years, in a move to safeguard their numbers and ultimately, that of the Malayan tiger.

Wildlife and National Parks Department enforcement director Saharudin Anan said the two-year moratorium on hunting will start this November, when the annual one-month open season for both game species usually kicks off.

He said no hunting licences will be issued for deer this year and next, to allow the declining deer population to rebound and provide a food source for wild tigers.

Wildlife scientists have said that tiger densities depended very much on the abundance of large preys such as the sambar and barking deer, but they have been overhunted in recent years.

Sambar deer numbers have plunged drastically, prompting the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to list the species as endangered last year.

The Perhilitan 2007 annual report revealed that 221 sambar deer and 315 barking deer were captured by licensed sports hunters that year, the bulk of them in Pahang.

The department issued 574 hunting licences for both species that year, which brought in a revenue of RM81,500.

The licence costs RM200 for the sambar deer and RM100 for the barking deer, and permits the capture of one animal.

In Kuala Lumpur, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the ministry has sought military assistance to help curb illegal wildlife trade in the country.

“The border is so long and the areas are so wide. And many people realise that our jungles are rich in resources and all kinds of flora and fauna.

“But all hope is not lost. We are working with the military to come out with more effective enforcement,” he said when launching the forum, Mainstreaming Biodiversity with a Focus on the National Tiger Action Plan yesterday.

“We have a masterplan and our commitment is to achieve that plan,” Uggah said.

He added that a task force, consisting of enforcement agencies, would also be formed to look into matters pertaining to wildlife poaching and smuggling.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Huge blob of Arctic goo

Published: July 14th, 2009

Mother Earth is calling for S.O.S. !!!!

Huge blob of Arctic goo floats past Slope communities
IT'S NOT OIL: No one in the area can recall seeing anything like it before.

Something big and strange ( 18 Km algae ?? ) is floating through the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bollywood at Taman Negara

When they did the filming of Gunung Ledang at Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands, several years ago, much of the mossy forest and trees at the filming sites were destroyed. Now, they are at it again. They never learn. What will be destroyed next?
The main purpose of National Park is for the protection of the flora and fauna. Look like they are now more interested in making money.

July 11, 2009
Bollywood reality show in Taman Negara accused of animal abuse

NEW DELHI: Highly publicised television realtiy shows here, where hunky actors oozing with machismo, mingle with wild animals may be fast becoming a fad.

However, such shows can hardly muscle their way into the psyche of Indian animal welfare activists.

A Mumbai-based animal rights group has alleged that animals, whether in the wild or domesticated, should be banned from these shows as they were often exposed to all sorts of abuses.

While Indian celebrities were busy shooting in the wild rainforest of Taman Negara in Malaysia for the up and coming show, 'Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachoo' (Take Me Out Of This Jungle), animal activists were crying foul back home.

"It is cruelty to use animals for such shows. Animals are never willing participants, they are always forced into this (shows). Whether it is India or Malaysia, these shows must be banned," Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (India chapter) said here today.

The Hindi version of the reality show is choreographed along ITV Global Entertainments 'I am a Celebrity...Get Me out of Here', where about 10 celebrities would try to survive the tough terrain of Taman Negara to win the King or Queen of the Jungle crown.

The shoot for the Sony Entertainment Television's reality show, which would be aired on Indian televisions from July 13, has started in Taman Negara and was expected to go on for another two months.

Producers of reality shows are becoming more adventurous.

Celebrities are often flown to exotic destinations for filming in jungles with wildlife.

At least, 300 Indian crew members would be involved in the Taman Negara filming.

Thai probe shows tiger parts came from Malaysia

July 11, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Investigations by Thai wildlife authorities have confirmed that some of the tiger parts confiscated in Thailand last year belonged to the Malayan tiger, a specie found only in Peninsula Malay-sia.

Dr Suchitra Changtragoon from the Forest Genetics and Biotech-nology Group said genetic fingerprinting revealed that the parts came from three species of tigers — the Indochinese, Amur and Malayan.

The group comes under the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department of Thai-land.

The group investigated 17 meat samples obtained from the seizure of animal parts early this year.

Twelve were found to be tiger meat, three were leopard meat and the rest were meat from the clouded leopard.

Of the 12 tiger samples, five were from Malayan tigers, five were from Indochinese tigers and the remaining two were from Amur tigers.

The findings were published in a scientific journal made available to The Star. The report is also published on the department’s website (

In January this year, three tiger carcasses, weighing up to 250kg, were seized from a truck passing through Hua Hin while in February, two tiger and one panther carcasses were recovered from a truck in Pattani.

In both cases, police said they were believed to have come from Malaysia and the parts were bound for Laos which is believed to be a transit point for Vietnam and China.

Most of the big cats had been cut in half and their organs and pelts removed.

When contacted, Department of Wildlife and National Park’s (Perhi-litan) Saharudin Anan said the results were not conveyed to Malaysia.

“This is news to me. We had requested through the official channels when it was reported that those seizures included the Malayan tiger.

“But until today we are still waiting for the results,” said the law and enforcement division director.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Aye to green campaign

Tuesday July 7, 2009
Aye to green campaign

THE Penang Government launched the ‘No Plastic Bags Day’ yesterday with one aim — no more free plastic bags to shoppers on Mondays.

Over 300 hypermarkets, mini-markets, departmental stores, pharmacies, pet stores and other participating stores and shops in the state pledged their support for the initiative with the objective of cutting down what the state estimates to be 2.1 million plastic bags distributed in the state each month.

Shoppers in participating outlets were charged 20 sen for each plastic bag yesterday with all proceeds directed to the state’s Partners Against Poverty Cam- paign in aid of the poor.

A visit to Sunshine Square hypermarket in Bayan Baru saw a number of administrative personnel standing by at checkout counters to provide assistance and explain to customers regarding the policy.

Periodical announcements on the green initiative were also broadcast in English, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil over the loudspeaker at the store.

“The policy is new, so explanation has to be done. The cashiers and officers have all been briefed on the policy so they can explain it to customers,” said Sunshine Wholesale Mart general manager Yee Kam Ming.

“Generally, the response has been good especially from foreigners from places like China who have similar policies implemented in their home countries,” he added.

Stacks and stacks of empty cardboard boxes were also seen near checkout counters.

“To start off the policy, we are offering the extra boxes for people to carry their purchases back.

“However, we hope people take well to the initiative and bring their own bags for shopping to help save the environment,” Yee said.

Large shopping chains also took the initiative to offer trendy and sturdy reusable bags to encourage people to use less plastic.

Eye-catching yellow Sunshine shopping bags were on sale at RM2.80 (in comparison to RM3.50 on days other than Mondays) at all Sunshine outlets in the state while Tesco Penang offered two attractive reusable bags — The Big Green Bag (which is blue in colour) and the Natural Green Bag made of jute.

“Our famous ‘Bag for Life’ shopping bags are also on sale for RM0.99 with a promise that they can be exchanged for new ones free of charge if they become torn or damaged,” said Tesco Penang loss prevention manager M. Bhoopalan.

Visits to several participating hypermarkets and departmental stores in the state showed that public response was quite positive to the no plastic bags policy despite a number not being aware that it had started.

“I used to have a friend who was a fisherman and he used to pick up so many plastic bags that were discarded into the sea.

“Since then, my family and I have tried to be vigilant to try and reduce the number of plastic bags we use,” said a retired businessman, who requested to be known only as Goh, 56, at Sunshine Square.

At Parkson Gurney Plaza, two siblings, who only wanted to be known as Havinash and Devesh, said they were unaware of the programme but lauded the move.

“However, it all boils down to the individual’s initiative. Whenever I go shopping, I’ll bring a big bag to dump everything in.

“If I do use a plastic bag, I’ll ask the cashier to pack everything into one bag even if I’m buying several items from different departments,” Havinash said.

Devesh said to discourage the use of plastic bags, participating outlets must stop giving out any sort of bags.

“Malaysians have a ‘tidak apa’ (don’t care) attitude. Making them pay 20 sen for a plastic bag won’t make a difference. We must not give them an option so that they will be forced to bring their own bags,” he said.

Speaking to reporters before distributing ‘No Plastic Bags Day’ pamphlets to shoppers at Pacific Komtar, Gama and Billion Sebe-rang Jaya, state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said he was “very satisfied” with the response as this was the first time the programme was held.

“The number of participants are increasing even as we speak.

“I’ve received calls not just from retailers but even private hospitals and even a pet shop owner who wanted to participate.

“Some people may say that one day of not using plastic bags won’t make a difference but if it can get people to start thinking about the environment, then that’s something good,” he said.

Phee urged entertainment outlets and cineplexes to show their support by allowing the screening of ‘No Plastic Bags Day’ messages at their outlets.

“We have prepared a 10-second message in Bahasa Melayu, Chinese, Tamil and English for that purpose and are now working on a jingle,” he said.

Friday, July 03, 2009

RM10,000 for each Arapaima gigas

Too late. Whatever you do, Arapaima gigas will be here to stay. Hope a lesson learned.
July 3, 2009
Terengganu lifts fishing ban in bid to rid Lake Kenyir of imported giant fish

SETIU: Wanted! – Kenyir Monsters. And the bounty is RM10,000 for each Arapaima gigas anglers catch.

Announcing the angler’s dream offer, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said Terengganu has lifted the fishing ban in Lake Kenyir from yesterday until Aug 15, except in areas gazetted as kelah sanctuaries and waters bordering the National Park.

“We want to see the Arapaima gigas caught alive and we will reward the angler with RM10,000,” he said after visiting Nadziyah Mohd Ladar, 39, widow of State Fire and Rescue Department diver Aladi Hasan at Kampung Buloh here yesterday.

Aladi drowned while on a rescue mission at Lake Kenyir on June 17.

Ahmad said the Kenyir Development Authority would issue permits to anglers but on condition that they release other species of fishes caught.

He said anglers were only allowed to use fishing rods and approved fishing gadgets to catch the fish while anglers would have to shoulder the cost of boat rentals.

He said the state was concerned that the giant fish, a freshwater species commonly found in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers of South America, could affect the population of other fish species in Kenyir.

Ahmad said the state planned to relocate the captured Arapaima gigas to Kemaman Zoo.

Recently, State Fisheries Department director Munir Mohd Nawi said a team of biologists would conduct research on the giant fish.

Reports on the so-called “Kenyir Monster” surfaced after the deaths of two men on June 17.

Kenyir bird park supervisor Helmi Sukhri Hisham, 28, drowned after falling from his boat into the lake. Aladi who dove into the lake to search for Helmi Sukhri also drowned.