Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wild animals are best left in the wild

As the saying goes, "Wild animals are best left in the wild". And the consequences.....

SeaWorld killer whale kills trainer
The Star
Thursday February 25, 2010

ORLANDO (Florida): A SeaWorld killer whale seized a trainer in its jaws Wednesday and thrashed the woman around underwater, killing her in front of a horrified audience. It marked the third time the animal had been involved in a human death.

Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium immediately, and the park was closed.

Trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was one of the park’s most experienced. It was not clear if she drowned or died from the thrashing.

A former contractor with SeaWorld told the Orlando Sentinel that the whale, Tilikum, is typically kept isolated from SeaWorld’s other killer whales and that trainers were not allowed to get in the water with him because of his violent history.

There were conflicting accounts of the attack.

The sheriff’s office said Brancheau slipped or fell into the whale’s tank, but at least one witness said the animal leaped from the water and dragged the woman in.

A retired couple from Michigan told The Associated Press that Wednesday’s killing happened as a noontime show was winding down, with some in the audience staying to watch the animals and trainers.

Spectator Eldon Skaggs said Brancheau was on a platform with the whale and was massaging it. He said the interaction appeared leisurely and informal.

Then, Skaggs said, the whale “pulled her under and started swimming around with her.”

Skaggs said an alarm sounded and staff rushed the audience out of the stadium as workers scrambled around with nets.

Skaggs said he heard that during an earlier show the whale was not responding to directions. Others who attended the earlier show said the whale was behaving like an ornery child.

The couple left and did not find out until later that the trainer had died. “We were just a little bit stunned,” said Skaggs’ wife, Sue Nichols.

Another audience member Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV the whale “took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off.”

Two other witnesses told the Sentinel that the whale grabbed the woman by the upper arm and tossed her around in its mouth while swimming rapidly around the tank.

Brazilian tourist Joao Lucio DeCosta Sobrinho and his girlfriend were at an underwater viewing area when they suddenly saw a whale with a person in its mouth.

The couple said they watched the whale show at the park two days earlier and came back to take pictures. But on Wednesday the whales appeared agitated. “It was terrible. It’s very difficult to see the image,” Sobrinho said.

A SeaWorld spokesman said Tilikum was one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 after the woman lost her balance and fell in the pool at Sealand of the Pacific near Victoria, British Columbia.

Steve Huxter, who was head of Sealand’s animal care and training department then, said Wednesday he’s surprised it happened again. He says Tilikum was a well-behaved, balanced animal.

Tilikum was also involved in a 1999 death, when the body of a man who had sneaked by SeaWorld security was found draped over him. The man either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water and died of hypothermia, though he was also bruised and scratched by Tilikum.

At the stadium, a black shroud could be seen covering what appeared to be a body lying on the concrete near the water as the animals swam just a few feet away.

Later Wednesday, SeaWorld in San Diego also suspended its killer whale show. It was not clear if the killer whale show has been suspended at SeaWorld’s San Antonio location, which is closed until the weekend.

According to a profile of Brancheau in the Sentinel in 2006, she was one of SeaWorld Orlando’s leading trainers. It was apparently a trip to SeaWorld at age nine that made her want to follow that career path.

“I remember walking down the aisle (of Shamu Stadium) and telling my mom, ‘This is what I want to do,”’ she said in the article.

Brancheau worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium during her career with SeaWorld, starting at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium before spending 10 years working with killer whales, the newspaper said.

She also addressed the dangers of the job. “You can’t put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you,” Brancheau said.

Steve McCulloch, founder and program manager at the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic University, said the whale may have been playing, but it is too early to tell.

“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. These are very large powerful marine mammals. They exhibit this type of behaviour in the wild. Nobody cares more about the animal than the trainer. It’s just hard to fathom that this has happened."

Mike Wald, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Atlanta, said his agency had dispatched an investigator from Tampa.

Wednesday’s death was not the first attack on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks.

In November 2006, a trainer was bitten and held underwater several times by a killer whale during a show at SeaWorld’s San Diego park.

The trainer, Kenneth Peters, escaped with a broken foot. The 5m orca that attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego’s seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters two other times, in 1993 and 1999.

In 2004, another whale at the company’s San Antonio park tried to hit one of the trainers and attempted to bite him. He also escaped.

Wednesday’s attack was the second time in two months that an orca trainer was killed at a marine park. On Dec 24, 29-year-old Alexis Martinez Hernandez fell from a whale and crushed his ribcage at Loro Parque on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

Park officials said the whale, a 14-year-old named Keto, made an unusual move as the two practised a trick in which the whale lifts the trainer and leaps into the air. -- AP

Monday, February 22, 2010

Its the Jellyfish

Plastic bags thrown into the sea which appeared as jellyfish were eaten by turtles. They died. Turtles are getting lesser while jellyfish multiplies. Human are destroying the ecosystem and we shall reap what we have done to nature.


Alarm as Box Jellyfish Kills Tourist on Langkawi
By Alan Morison

THE DEATH of a Swedish tourist on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, apparently from a box jellyfish sting, has heightened concerns about swimmers' safety throughout the region.

Swedish media reports have focused on the death, which is likely to alarm some visitors to Malaysia and Thailand.

Carina Lofgren, 45, died a horrible death in just five seconds, according to reports from Pantai Cenang, a beach resort on Langkawi.

The Swedish Embassy in Kuaka Lumpur confirmed today to Phuketwan the circumstances of the woman's death.

Aftonbladet, one of Sweden's most popular newspapers, reported that Mrs Lofgren was enjoying a farewell swim with her husband, Ronny, when the jellyfish wrapped its tentacles around her.

The couple had been taking a holiday in Thailand and Malaysia, renting an apartment on Langkawi close to the water, with Ronny's sister and her husband.

The newspaper reported that the four went for a late-night swim, then: Carina's voice suddenly cut like a knife through the night.

Her husband was quoted as saying: ''She screamed like a stuck pig and started pulling on my legs. Then we realised that it was a jellyfish of some sort. We tried to pull the tentacles away.

''It took four or five seconds, then she sank down, lifeless.''

They carried Carina to the beach, the newspaper reported, where. Ronny's brother, who had worked as an ambulance medic, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

''He did CPR on her, maybe for four or five minutes. Then I took over. But I knew at once that she could not be saved. She died in my arms,'' Ronny told Aftonbladet.

Paramedics arrived after 15 minutes. ''One of them said, 'Oh, jellyfish,' and shook his head. They tried to revive her, then they shook their heads again.''

A week earlier, a German woman had been stung on the beach, the Swedish tourists were told. Yet there were no warning signs, the newspaper reported.

''They are clearly afraid of losing tourists. I would not ever swim in the ocean down there again,'' the dead woman's husband is quoted as saying.

The couple have two adult children and later in February would have marked their 26th anniversary, Aftonbladet reported.

According to Swedish marine biologist Lars Henroth, the woman was probably stung by a box jellyfish, named for their cube-shaped body. Box jellyfish have the reputation for being the most toxic creatures on earth.

The Phuket Marine Biology Centre has led the way in researching all jellyfish in the region, noting that instances of contacts with box jellyfish appear to be increasing.

A young Swedish tourist died from box jellyfish stings off Koh Lanta in Krabi in April, 2008.

Resorts and lifeguards around the Andaman region now keep vinegar handy. Vinegar is the only known treatment for jellyfish stings.

While smaller varieties of box jellyfish have been discovered at a bay on Phuket's east coast, there have been no confirmed sightings at Phuket's popular west coast beaches.

Experts in Australia, where the deadly ''boxie'' has rapidly enlarged its territory, believe it is probably only a matter of time before sightings are made on the Andaman coast.

Jellyfish everywhere are increasing in number, possibly in response to overfishing and the retreat of natural predators, including turtles.

Several seminars on jellyfish were held on Phuket last year and another is scheduled for later this month.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pangolins Again

Pangolins are on the news again.
Since blogging here, there were countless smuggling of wildlife in Malaysia. Search "Pangolin" in this
blog and you should be able to read some of on pangolins.
Pangolin is still a common news. Why is it happening again? If there is no informer, there usually won't be any news. Poor laws, corrupt officers and sheer "buat tak tahu" are the reasons why these news will be cropping up again and again. Don't be surprised if the pangolins were found, they could be released in an island with little termites or perhaps even released in an isolated fragmented area. They don't even bother to understand how pangolins survive. Or perhaps they are sold off again for the cooking pots. It was reported to be RM130 then. Then again at RM150. Today it is RM250. I am sure many more smugglings are going to happen with the increase in price. Who cares except people like you and me! But we are the minorities.
Don't you think it is time to change the government?
Some selected pangolins news below....
Cops Seize Pangolins
Pangolin Smuggling on the rise
Man fined RM4000
98 Pangolins Seized

Saturday February 20, 2010
35 pangolins rescued by cops

MALACCA: A week-long surveillance by authorities off the coastal waters of Ujong Pasir for possible illegal wildlife trade paid off when marine police rescued 35 pangolins destined for cooking pots.

The live anteaters, estimated to be worth about RM30,000, were believed to have been caught by poachers in Sumatra and were about to be smuggled into the country for sale to restaurants in Malacca and the Klang Valley.

State Marine Police commanding officer ASP Rizal Ramli said they received a tip-off last week of possible smuggling activities being conducted at the Parit Cina jetty in Ujong Pasir.

“We spotted a blue sampan with two men making their way up Parit Cina at about noon on Friday,” he told reporters when met at the Marine Police jetty in Banda Hilir yesterday.

“However both of them jumped off the boat and swam to shore before escaping on foot into a housing area nearby.”

He said the men are believed to be locals as their boat bore the registration number of boats belonging to fishermen from Malacca.

He added that those behind the illegal trade had tried to dupe authorities by carrying out their activities during Friday prayers to avoid detection.

He said that a kilo of pangolin meat could fetch up to RM250 on the black market.

He said the pangolins would be handed over to wildlife authorities here and the marine police are assisting in investigations.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What do you expect from a HPS judiciary? Pay and you will be off the hook. Everyone knows about this except the MACC. Welcome to Bolehland.
Mycat: Most wildlife culprits roaming free
Wednesday February 17, 2010

PETALING JAYA: A conservation group wants the Attorney-General’s Chambers to treat cases of cruelty to wildlife with importance and urgency.

The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) noted that perpetrators of previous cases involving cruelty to animal had walked away free after paying paltry fines.

“This includes a man who was found guilty of illegal possession of a dead tiger five years ago. The tiger had been butchered and stored in his freezer,” said Mycat programme coordinator Loretta Shepherd.

“For that offence, he paid a fine of RM7,000 and walked out a free man.

“Compare this to the case involving the theft of 11 cans of Tiger beer and Guinness Stout worth RM70 in January this year, where a man was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

“Clearly our values are misplaced.”

Seven orang asli are currently being investigated for brutally killing a male tiger in the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve in Perak two weeks ago.

While the incident has angered many Malaysians, Shepherd voiced concerns that they too might only receive a slap on the wrist.

The Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 provides for a maximum sentence of five years’ jail and a RM15,000 fine for killing a tiger.

Red faces over go-green campaign

Cakap bukan saperti bikin
(Talk is cheap)


February 17, 2010
Red faces over go-green campaign

GEORGE TOWN: The widespread use of polystyrene at the Penang PKR state-level open house was an “oversight”, said open house organising chairman Jason Ong.

Ong, who is also Kebun Bunga assemblyman, said he only realised the mistake when he arrived for the open house at an open area at the Rifle Range flats here yesterday. The state has been on a go-green campaign for months.

“We just forgot about it when we were planning the open house.

“We need to be more careful next time as we are serious about this (green campaign),” Ong told reporters after the open house.

State Welfare, Environment and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, who has championed the green campaign, took the “oversight” as a personal failure.

“I apologise to the Penang people,” he said.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Panther found dead with paws and skin missing

"It was difficult to trace those responsible for killing the panther!" Imagine 6 other traps and still no clue? Orang asli tipped off too. So I am sure orang asli also knew about it. As usual the custodians are at a blank. "Biasalah", they said.

Tuesday February 16, 2010
The Star

KUANTAN: A black panther was found dead without its paws and skin in the Persit forest reserve of Sungai Yu, Lipis District.

State Wildlife Department director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said the adult panther was believed to have been caught in a trap set by hunters.

Khairiah said her staff had entered the forest to check on reports that a panther had been found dead by orang asli at 4.30pm on Sunday.

“My officers said the panther was dead for five to six days with its paws and skin removed.

“We also found six other traps, and we have destroyed them,’’ she added.

It is learnt that the traps were put up to capture tigers prowling in the area.

“If it had been a tiger, the bones would have been removed too, as they are very valuable,’’ she added.

Khairiah said it was difficult to trace those responsible for killing the panther.

“We hope they are aware that endangered species like tigers and panthers are not allowed to be caught,’’ she said.

Khairiah added that the case was being investigated under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Act 76) Section 64(2)(a).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Understand idiot said the orang asli.

"You took away my land. You logged my forest. You built highway into my jungle. You flooded my homeland. You poached my meat. You stole my herbs. I have family to feed too. Where to find food for my family if you greedy bastard take everything? How am I not to kill the tiger (for cash) if you keep on raping my food sources? Stop your greed and I will stop killing tiger. Understand idiot?" said the orang asli.

Wednesday February 10, 2010
WWF: Orang asli being used

PETALING JAYA: Many middlemen are using orang asli to hunt for wildlife, including tigers, for their parts, said World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia.

Its chief executive Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the authorities needed to step up their enforcement to protect the wildlife and to prevent orang asli from being exploited by these middlemen.

“The middlemen or syndicates find people to trap and kill for them because there is a demand for wildlife parts,” he said in response to an incident where a tiger was shot and left to die in a snare in Perak last week.

“We need to invest in more equipment and people. Our forests and reserve areas are very large and they are easily accessible due to logging roads and porous borders.

“If we don’t protect our tigers, who will?” he said.

In last week’s incident, an orang asli, Yok Meneh had claimed that he was attacked by the tiger while on his way to gather petai at the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve last Saturday.

However, it was later found that he had been attacked while trying to kill the tiger which he had caught in a snare.

The animal carcass was later found by the Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department officers a day after the attack.

Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) programme coordinator Loretta Ann Shepherd urged the authorities to come down hard on those responsible for the incident.

She said the death of the tiger must be investigated further so that not only those responsible in snaring and shooting it were brought to book, but also those who had ordered the killing.

She said that if the orang asli were truly involved in setting up the trap and killing the wildlife, they must be prosecuted.

“This would serve as a lesson for them and a deterrent to others. It is not the kind of news to start the Year of the Tiger.

“The law gives allowances to the orang asli to hunt animals but the tiger is not one of them. The orang asli know that it is illegal to kill tigers and they are not amateurs as it was also reported that they had captured and killed other protected animals,” she said.

Thursday February 11, 2010
Slow, painful death for tiger with bullet and spear wounds

IPOH: The tiger trapped by a group of orang asli in Sungkai last week died an excruciatingly slow and painful death — so painful that Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Shabrina Shariff wept when she saw the body.

The tiger was bloodied — it had taken five bullets, two of them in its eyes. It had spear wounds all over, with the poison from the spears slowly killing it. Its flesh was torn by the wire snare and its left forelimb had been torn off.

Shabrina said she could not imagine the pain the four-year-old male tiger would have gone through since last Tuesday, the first day its limb was caught in a snare.

The carcass was found by Perhilitan officers five days later on Sunday with its left forelimb detached and the bloodied body riddled with gunshot wounds.

“But I am very sure that the pain and trauma it suffered before it died would have been excruciating,” said Shabrina.

“We extracted five bullets from its body, limb and both eyes. Its flesh was badly torn by the wire snare and spears the poachers had jabbed it with,” she said.

Shabrina said it had also been poisoned as the spears used by the orang asli were laced with sap from the Ipoh Tree.

Shabrina said that it was impossible for the tiger, which had been injured so severely, to survive.

“It is one of the worst poaching cases I have seen.

“It was a really handsome and big cat, weighing some 120kg and measuring 1.5m to 1.8m long.

“It had very beautiful fur but sadly, we were unable to restore and preserve its skin due to the extent of the injuries.

“All that we could salvage was its bones, which we will assemble later for display,” she said, adding that for the time being, the tiger was buried at the Wildlife Conservation Centre in Sungkai.

Orang asli Yok Meneh had last Saturday claimed that he was attacked by the tiger while on his way to gather petai at the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve.

However, it was later found that he had been attacked while trying to kill the tiger, which was caught in a snare set by other orang asli.

Shabrina said the orang asli claimed that they hunted tiger for its meat which was considered an aphrodisiac.

“But I believe that they could be involved in selling tiger parts to middlemen.”


Oh dear, they killed the tiger — Tay Tian Yan

FEB 11 — I think it is necessary to tell you the tiger’s whereabouts... pardon me, should be its fate instead.

We were told that unfortunate Orang Asli Yok Meneh was attacked and wounded by a tiger when he was collecting petai at the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve.

Yok Meneh said he endured pain and fought the tiger. Eventually, the tiger slunk away.

Everyone applauded and praised him, saying that he was a modern Wu Song, a Chinese fictional hero who was well known for killing a tiger with his bare hands.

I am afraid that some enthusiastic people even wished to send the heroic tiger fighter rice and medicines.

Oh, it is not necessary to do so!

Yok Meneh was neither unfortunate, nor was he heroic.

Instead, the tiger was the unfortunate one, and it is now a dead tiger.

Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) officers found in their investigation that there was no petai tree there. How could he collect petai when there was no petai tree there?

In fact, he went there with two other men to set up a snare to capture a tiger.

As a result, the wretched tiger’s limb was caught in the wire snare. Yok Meneh and his friends fired several shots at the tiger and waited for the tiger to die.

The next day, they returned to the jungle to collect the carcass, planning to sell it for money.

Unexpectedly, the tiger had not died yet. It attacked and wounded Yok Meneh.

Yok Meneh then returned to the village. He made up a story and became a hero.

The left forelimb of the tiger had been torn off and the detached limb was still caught in the snare.

With bullet and spear wounds, the tiger collapsed about 20m from the site.

The poor tiger could not even live until the Year of the Tiger.

According to investigations, Yok Meneh and his friends had previously killed a lot of tigers and other protected animals.

It reminded me of the South China tiger photo scandal.

Farmer Zhou Zhenglong claimed that he found a believed-to-be-extinct wild South China tiger, and he was able to snap photos of it.

The news shocked the whole country and everyone was so happy to find that the South China tiger was not yet extinct. Zhou became so famous and he received a huge sum in interview and appearance fees.

However, experts later found that the photos were fake, they were in fact replicas of a traditional Chinese lunar new year picture.

The people were frustrated when they found that they had been cheated. Zhou and a few officials who covered for him were charged or sacked.

How is this related to the tiger-killing incident in Malaysia then?

Both of them used a tiger to lie. However, the motives, people’s mentalities and social reactions were totally different.

Zhou only fabricated a tiger while Yok Meneh and his friends deliberately shot and killed a real tiger.

Zhou made use of the people’s care for endangered animals to gain benefits. And Yok Meneh made use of the people’s belief that tiger meat and penises had special functions to earn money.

Chinese people were frustrated over the fake photo incident, resulting in action being taken against those who were involved.

Malaysians, however, did not respond much. It was just a tiger, after all.

But there are not many wild tigers left in Malaysia. The most we have are about 400. How long can these tigers meet the demand of those with extremely high sexual fantasies but low ability?

Please leave the tigers alone. You will get a better effect if you spend about RM30 for a capsule of Viagra. —

* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tiger which mauled man meets tragic end

February 7, 2010

IPOH: The tiger that attacked an orang asli man at the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve on Saturday has been found dead.

A team from the Perak National Parks and Wildlife Department found the male tiger with gunshot and blow pipe wounds within 100m from where it attacked the orang asli.

It had also lost its left forelimb.

Perak National Parks and Wildlife Department director Shabrina Shariff believed the animal could have escaped a trap set by poachers.

“The tiger might have attacked Yok Meneh because it was in pain,” she said on Saturday.

“That is why I was surprised to read that the tiger had attacked a human as tigers are normally reclusive animals which kept to themselves,” she said.

The tiger tipped the scale at 120kg and measured between 1.5m and 1.8m in length. The tiger’s carcass is expected to be taken to the department’s Sungkai office for further checks.

The animal had attacked Yok Meneh, a 47-year-old petai gatherer from the Semai tribe,

Yok Meneh was attacked while he was on his way to gather petai and suffered a deep wound measuring 15.2cm on his back. He also suffered injuries to his hands and legs from fighting back.

Shabrina also urged Yok Meneh to lodge a police report on the matter as he was entitled to a compensation for being attacked by a fierce animal.

She said the department would recommend to the relevant authorities that Yok Meneh be compensated.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Selective Prosecution?

I have seen about any kind of pollution by factories all over Malaysia when I travelled. I guess you would too. If a layman like me can see such discharging of pollution, I am sure the authorities would have seen them too. Cases of pollution were brought up to the court just to have some scapegoats once in a while. What is a fine of RM15k or RM10k to a factory making huge profit? Will there be any mitigation to stop the pollution? What mitigation does the factory submitted to the court? I believe there is none. Just look at the air pollution by a smelting tin company in Penang. Photo taken on 19 Dec 2009 at 11.46am. You can even see this when you are traveling on the ferry. Any action?

Wednesday February 3, 2010
Oil palm companies fined for water pollution

BATU PAHAT: Two oil palm companies were fined a total of RM25,000 by a Sessions Court here for pollution by discharging waste matter into the river above the allowed limit.

The PPNJ oil palm factory in Batu 17, Mukim Kahang committed the offence on Feb 19, 2008 by releasing waste that contained biological oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids.

The factory was fined RM15,000 or six months’ jail for the offence.

In the same court, a Felda-owned oil palm factory in Kahang Timur was also charged with releasing waste that contained BOD on Oct 14, 2008.

Sessions Court judge Mohamad Haldar Abd Aziz fined the factory RM10,000 or six months’ jail for the offence.

Both factories were charged under Section 16 (1) of the Environment Quality Act 1974 and Section 16 (2) of the same Act.

Deputy public prosecutor Noor Mohd Emran Amir prosecuted the case, while both factories were not represented.