Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is Why We Need To Change the Corrupt, Racist & Plundering Government

Govt's relocation programme leaves S'wak natives in debts
Wed, 31 Mar 2010
By Joseph Tawie
Source Here

KUCHING: Thousands of natives, displaced by the Bakun dam project, are being asked to pay for a one-room house in the new settlement area, according to the Sarawak Dayak-Iban Association (SADIA).

SADIA secretary-general Nicholas Mujah said the natives, from the Kayans, Kenyahs and Punan communities, were now being “relocated to Sungai Asap and asked to pay RM15,000 for a one-room house.”

He said like the natives in Batang Ai, these natives were also given small plots of land for farming.

“But now the natives in Batang Ai, who also received a small plot of land for farming, are struggling to make a living and are unable to pay for the house.

“The jobs promised to them have never materialized.

“In the words of Nyipa Bato, an Orang Ulu leader, the Bakun was supposed to create at least 200 millionaires, but now it has made more than 2000 Orang Ulu bankrupt,” recalled Mujah.

The Bakun project, which was approved in 1986 and shelved three times, will submerge about 700 square kilometres of land, the size of Singapore, destroying some of the most unique longhouses, traditional native farms and hunting land.

The Bakun region has some of the rarest species of plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere on this planet.

The construction of Bakun Hydro which was originally supposed to supply electricity to West Malaysia through undersea cables has now been abandoned.

Instead it will now supply electricity to an aluminium smelting plant in Similajau some 180 km from the dam.

Mujah said recently, some 400 families who refused to move out from the Bakun area had their houses demolished by officers of the Lands and Surveys.

Fortunately, they applied to the Court to stop the Lands and Surveys from carrying out their tasks.

Similarly at the Bengoh Dam, there were four Bidayuh villages affected and they were directed to move out, failing which action would be taken against them.

Now another 12 dams are to be built and should be completed by 2020.

The dams which are to be located at Batang Ai, Ulu Ai, Metjawah, Baleh, Belaga, Linau, Belepeh, Murum, Baram, Tutoh, Limbang and Lawas will increase the total capacity of electricity in the State to 7,000 MW including Bakun’s capacity of 2,400MW.

Imagine the size of the land to be submerged and the sufferings and miseries the natives especially the Orang Ulu will endure.

Mujah asked: “Do we really need all these dams?

“While the environmentalists are worried about the effects on our ecological systems and the damage to the rarest specimens of flora and fauna, the natives are worried about losing their livelihood, cultural heritage and their NCR land – farming land, their gardens (pepper and rubber) temuda, tembawai, pemakai menua and pendam.

“The government only thinks of economic returns and business opportunities. But we know that companies owned by certain families only are going to reap not millions, but billions of ringgits.

“Companies like SESCO Enterprise, CMS (belonging to Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family) and Naim Cendera (owned by Taib’s relatives), and timber companies.

“ Plenty of money will come from clearing of forests, the construction of roads, bridges and cables as well as accommodations. SESCO Enterprise will play the leading role in all these dam businesses,” he said.

Meanwhile Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) senior manager (power systems planning) Dr Lee Hau Aik reportedly said on Monday that the power demands of Sarawak was expected to surge some 3,000 MW by 2020 to meet the needs of the industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

Dr Lee who presented a paper on “Hydropower for the long-term generation” at the third international conference on Water resources and renewable energy development in Asia yesterday, noted that industries in Score would initially be sourcing power from the Bakun and Murum hydroelectric dams.

The 2,400 MW Bakun dam is scheduled to begin power generation later this year while Murum dam comes on stream in 2013.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Act to provide greater protection for wildlife

March 26, 2010

PETALING JAYA: The proposal to repeal the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and replace it with a new act for greater protection of wildlife will presented to the Cabinet for approval today.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said once it was approved, the Wildlife Conservation Bill would be tabled in Parliament.

“The proposed act has taken feedback and recommendations from relevant parties in the Government and non-governmental organisations, into consideration,” he said in a statement after the launch of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) research gallery in Kepong yesterday.

He said under the Bill, the penalties provided for crimes have been increased by between 10 to 30 times besides mandatory jail sentences for serious offences.

The new act, he said would also provide better enforcement on wildlife derivatives to prevent them from being used for traditional medicine.

“Under the existing Act, protection is limited to mammalians, reptiles, birds and insects while the new act will also provide protection to amphibians (frogs), arachnids (spiders) and gastropods (snails).

“It will also provide wider powers on new activities such as circuses and exhibition of wildlife,” he said.

He added that the new act would also cover the issue of invasive alien species which contribute to the extinction of local wildlife. The existing act was last amended in 1998.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sabah & Sarawak don't even trust Peninsular

Well, this show that our Peninsular Wildlife caretakers are below par as compare to Sabah & Sarawak. I have the opportunity to visit some of the wildlife sanctuary and parks in Sabah and Sarawak and would agree 101% that Peninsular's parks are nothing compare to Sabah and Sarawak. So many failed wildlife parks were in Peninsular...and they still never learn the reasons. The one in Perak (Bukit Merah) is successful because it was a private company that run the centre. It would have failed if it was under the government's authority.
Want to know the reasons?
1. Corruption
2. Food for wildlife being hijacked
3. Lazy staff
4. Uncaring for wildlife


March 21, 2010
Sabah, S'wak unwilling to send their orang utan to KL

KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are not willing to relocate their orang utan to a new sanctuary for the primate in Kuala Lumpur.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said both states wanted their orang utan to stay where they were and, therefore, the government now had to look for orang utans from a small island in Perak.

He said the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) had allocated about 200 acres in Kepong to set up the new eco-tourism attraction that was similar to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre here and the Sepilok orang utan sanctuary in Sandakan.

“We are going to transfer some of the orang utan from the island in Perak since the population has increased and exceeded the island’s caring capacity, which makes it difficult for the primates to get enough food,” he said opening SK Siburan Baru Parent-Teacher Association’s annual general meeting here Sunday.

Dawos said the species in Perak, the Borneon orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus), was similar to that in Sarawak and Sabah.

He was not certain when the project would start.

However, he said the government would not go back on its plan because an orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur would be a big success as it would leave a lasting impression on visitors in line with the government’s intention to make eco-tourism a more prominent sector.

“I cannot ascertain when we can make it a reality. But this is a directive from the Prime Minister, which is why we must do it,” he said.


Monday March 22, 2010
Questions over big ape sanctuary

KUCHING: Mystery surrounds a proposed new orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur, which nobody seems to want.

Sarawak and Sabah are not willing to relocate their orang utan to the sanctuary, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit.

He said both states wanted their orang utan to stay where they were and therefore, the government now had to look for orang utans from a small island in Perak.

He said the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) had allocated about 200 acres in Kepong to set up the new eco-tourism attraction which was similar to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre here and the Sepilok orangutan sanctuary in Sandakan.

“We are going to transfer some of the orang utan from the island in Perak since the population there has increased and exceeded the island’s caring capacity which makes it difficult for the primates to get enough food,” he said after opening SK Siburan Baru Parent-Teacher Association’s annual general meeting here yesterday.

Dawos, who is a FRIM board member, said the species in Perak, the Borneon orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), was similar to that in Sarawak and Sabah. He was not certain when the project would start.

However, he said the government would not go back on its plan because an orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur would be a big success and it would leave a lasting impression on visitors in line with the government’s intention to make eco-tourism a more prominent sector.

“I cannot ascertain when we can make it a reality. But we must do it,” he said.

FRIM director-genereal Datuk Dr Abd Latif Mohmod, however. said the institute had never requested for the setting up of an orang utan sanctuary.

“Orang utan conservation comes under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Perhilitan. We are a forest research centre focusing on flora,” he said.


Comment: FRIM DG was right. Forest research should only focus on flora. Botanic Gardens once had a mini zoo and kangaroo park but all the animals dead. Teluk Bahang Forestry Park had a mini zoo too, but all the animals dead. These were only two examples from Penang. Have they not learnt enough? Do we have enough animal experts to take care of the animals? Stupid policy maker! Stupid politician!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tiger year and the tiger story

Star’s headline read, “Shock over poaching clip”. The Sun’s, “Groups shocked over tiger video on British TV”. And this “shocking news” has poor coverage in the main propaganda newsprints.

Everybody seems to be in a “shock”....syok sendiri maybe. Its a joke that after all these while, after so many incidents of poaching, after so many news related to killing of wildlife in Malaysia....and these people still claim to be in a “shock”. “Syok sendiri” should be more appropriate. I have seen how the army shot a wildlife at night in the jungle – without knowing what they were shooting. They just aimed at the reflective eyes when shone with the spotlight. Tell signs and leftover of poaching have been seen everywhere in the jungles.

There was one case, when we were not allow into the Temengor area by the Forestry. However, the next day we saw a group of men on 4WD coming out from that jungle. There was double standard. So tell me how can poachers get into the jungles if the Forestry were so strict to layman like me. I think it is more of the “pagar makan the paddy”. I would brand those as “Traitors to our natural heritage”.

First, we must know that the video clip was first shown in Britian. Why was it not shown here? Simple answer. It will be brushed aside. Whistleblower will be picked up harassed instead. People who reported or submitted the video will be is just that simple. Don’t you see that this is Bolehland? The criminals always get off the hook.....correct, correct, correct! Remember that? And if they were to be found guilty (once in awhile just to show some work done), then the fines and penalties can easily be covered by the illegal sale of wildlife.

Why the hu-ha about these man-eaters? Some people I met just shuddered off by saying, “what so special of tigers?”. They killed people? Right? Well, for those who have this misconcept, lets go through some education. Infact tigers are part of the larger ecosystem. Researchs have shown that without predators, other animals will be over populated. Take for example, deers will start eating up the every new seedlings and causing the extinction of valuable trees, erosion to river banks, stray deers into populated areas, diseases and grobbing up everything – the herbs etc in the forests. Wouldn’t that be scary?

See the video clip by the British’s Channel 4 TV.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Environment Disaster Coming to Perlis?

The karst landscape of Perlis is well known. The underground river system is extensive. So extensive that it was once proclaimed as the longest underground river system in Peninsular Malaysia. The narrow strip of Bintang Range bordering Thailand is barely a few kilometers wide. Burrowing a tunnel anywhere will disect the ground river system and will affect underground water that feed the Timah-Tasoh dam and affecting the environment. Economically it will benefit citizens of Malaysia and Thailand through mutual trade and tourism, but is it worth it if our natural heritage, our rare fauna and flora found only in this part of northern Peninsular decimated? Are we going to keep quite (again!) and let the Government creates the havoc to our environment while our future generation suffer the consequences?


Sunday March 14, 2010 MYT 4:22:00 PM
Thailand agrees to tunnel linking Satun to Perlis

KANGAR: Thailand is agreeable to a proposal to build a tunnel linking its Satun province to Perlis, Satun Governor Sumeth C. Vatnikul said here Sunday.

The proposed project was awaiting the green light from the Malaysian government, he told reporters after an unofficial meeting with the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) Entrepreneurs Club, here.

Sumeth and Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu discussed the proposal six months ago and agreed to raise it with their respective cabinets.

The tunnel, estimated to be four kilometres long, would go through the Bintang mountain range in Malaysia (1.5 km) and the Sangkakiri mountain range in Thailand (2.5 km).

NCER Entrepreneurs Club chairman Dr Ammar Hassan said the project would transform the physical and economic landscapes of the surrounding areas, and the entrepreneurs and traders in Perlis would stand to benefit. - Bernama

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sabahans - your doomsday is pending

And, Please CONTINUE voting for Barisan Najis, Ok?


Trepidation as Sabah dirty coal-fired power plant D-day looms
Tue, 09 Mar 2010 16:35

KOTA KINABALU: Amidst the scorching Sabah heat, dry rivers and raging wildfires, advocates of a greener, cleaner state face up to the burning likelihood that the government's final solution to the state's perennial electricity shortage could be the kiss of death to their efforts to preserve the environment.

The environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the proposed 300MW coal-fired power plant at Felda Tungku in Lahad Datu, is due to be out this month.

The state government, after initially dithering on approving the controversial plant, has finally succumbed to pressure from federal authorities responsible for the country's energy demands.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman rejected the coal power plant in 2008, but rapidly back-pedalled when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the controversial plant would be sited at Felda Tungku.

Electricity supply in the state comes directly under the federal government through power supplier Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB), which in turn is controlled by the country's main power supplier, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

SESB and TNB have long maintained that coal is the only option as a source of power supply on the east coast.

"Coal is the most economically viable fuel option for the east coast of Sabah, against other alternatives. Abundance supply of coal from nearby Kalimantan… will provide secured supply of coal at competitive price, thus ensuring continuous operation of the plant and optimum cost of supply/tariff," SESB said on its website.

But, the people residing there are unconvinced. They remain opposed because of fears that toxic coal pollutants will affect both their health and the environment.

The fishing communities along the pristine Darvel Bay, where the coal-fired plant will discharge millions of gallons of treated heated water, are fearful for their now abundant catch.

“The people of Lahad Datu and Seguntor had rejected the coal-fired plant and now the majority of Sabahans do not want it as well,” said Melanie Chia Ket Sui, an opposition politician, during a futile bid for an emergency motion to enable the State Legislative Assembly to debate the issue.

Unsubstantiated claims

The state government said Chia's claims were unsubstantiated.

Tungku assemblyman Suhaili Said (BN) has said that as far as he knew, his constituents had no issues with the plant being located in their area.

Credence to Chia's assertion, however, is supported by the fact that the proposed power plant has been relocated twice, from Silam in Lahad Datu initially and then from Seguntor in Sandakan before being fixed at Tungku after protests by residents.

Most are aware that coal burning is one of the main causes of acid rain, which damages buildings and can be detrimental to aquatic and plant life.

Environmental groups fighting for transparency on the issue are still smarting from anger after their proposals for alternate “clean” energy sources were repeatedly slapped down by the government.

They have already written off the pending report as a whitewash.

"They (the government) have already indicated that it will go ahead no matter what we say," the president of the Sabah Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), Wong Tack, said recently.

"They have no respect for the wishes of Sabahans. They will build the plant and it will be a disaster for the east coast.

"The government promised a second review of the terms and conditions of the EIA, but where is it? It is still the same.

"Last month, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) people met (TNB) chairman (Tan Sri) Leo Moggie and he admitted to them that it (the proposed plant) will destroy the environment, but they would nevertheless go ahead," he said in a recent interview.

"He (Moggie) admitted that the proposed site is in an eco-sensitive area that could possibly affect the environment stretching from Darvel Bay to the pristine Danum Valley.

"They simply do not want to look at any other energy sources. They want coal and they will get it," said Wong.

He warned that Sepa and other environmental groups would not be standing by idly.

"Darvel Bay is a fixed deposit for Sabahans… for our children. We are not going to allow anyone to jeopardise the life of our future generations…"

Many unanswered questions

The anti-coal lobby has few prospects of success other than to threaten to help evict the government at the next election if it goes ahead with the plan.

"We have misgivings. What Sabahans must ask is, why? Why not use the plentiful natural gas we are blessed with or buy from Sarawak? They are willing to sell to us the surplus they have from Bakun. Brunei has grabbed their offer. Why not us?

"It is clean and cheaper in the long term. It also will not damage our environment. All we would have to do is extend the transmission lines to Lawas and the Sarawak grid, said Tawau's Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong.

"Why are they (the government) making excuses and pushing for the coal plant which will take years to build?

"They should consider this for the sake of keeping Sabah green, instead of rushing for coal.

"Every year, the government is getting about RM300 million of the RM1 billion from sales tax of palm oil from the east coast. About 30% comes from the Tawau area. You could say more than RM1 billion has been given by Tawau oil palm planters over the years.

"Yet while we have given the most we are suffering the most… and now they are forcing us to breathe polluted air when they put up this coal plant," he added.

A majority of Tawau's 500,000 population (excluding thousands of illegal immigrants) are against the plant, but are resigned to it after enduring decades of frequent power cuts akin to a third world nation.

Moggie argued that the proposed plant is a prudent choice and a way to diversify electricity generation sources.

"Hydropower is a potential (energy source). But if you develop hydropower, it also raises questions about the environment and inundation of areas. Coal supply compared to oil is more dependable, so in future coal will play an important part in our power generation diversification," Moggie said in an interview in 2006.

He said neither gas nor hydropower is available on the east coast of Sabah and biomass is a marginal way of obtaining power supply.

Therefore, he said, "coal is the most practical fuel source and that’s why we decided on it... it is not just us who is using coal but the world also is using it”.

SESB looked at a number of potential sites and identified a portion of state-owned Yayasan Sabah land where the abandoned Pacific Hardwood complex stood sandwiched by Darvel Bay and Silam Hill as the most logical (choice) in terms of its centralised position for a power plant.

The worry is that the state, while still considered one of the most environmentally friendly places in the world, is leaning towards unfriendly environmental policies that will lead to irreversible long-term damage to its unique eco-system.

For the state's environmentalists, doomsday is pending.

- FMT Staff

Monday, March 08, 2010

Logging is the reason

Sg Lembing's Rainbow Waterfall is restricted NOW.
Reasons given by the Forestry Department were to absolve it from liability should a tragedy occur and to protect the site from indiscriminate littering and illegal fishing.
If that were the reasons then EVERY parks in Pahang (and in Malaysia) should be banned too. People dies at Taman Negara, rubbishs were found at Taman Negara and illegal fishings were found at Taman Negara - Why don't they ban Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan, Pahang) too?
Well, I can't think of a valid reason but the obvious one is LOGGING or perhaps GOLD mining! This has been one of the modus operandi, the other is to build a highway. Damned corrupt!

Monday March 8, 2010
There are better ways than bans to control entry to tourism spots

RECENTLY, a Sungai Lembing community leader made the startling revelation of a state agency imposing a blanket ban on visitors entering Rainbow Waterfall along Sungai Jin.

Unaware of the sudden restriction, many first-time visitors who arrived at the site found themselves blocked from entering the pathway leading to the popular tourism spot.

Among the reasons given by the Forestry Department were to absolve it from liability should a tragedy occur and to protect the site from indiscriminate littering and illegal fishing.

Paya Besar MCA division chief Senator Ng Fook Heng said these reasons did not hold water and could have untoward repercussions for the tourism industry.

He said he was concerned that, if no quarters came forward to question the one for the move, other agencies might impose similar restrictions on other tourist destinations.

Pahang thrives because of its lovely beaches and lush forests which are home to flora and fauna unique to this largest state in the Peninsula.

Ng feared that, if one agency was allowed to impose its own guidelines, it might open the floodgates for others to follow.

“What if another agency decides to bar tourists from climbing the scenic Panorama Hill in Sungai Lembing for certain reasons?

“The former mining town will cease to attract visitors and this will affect economic activities such as homestay programmes, chalets, food and other trades of the locals,” he said.

Ng has raised a valid point as it just does not make economic sense to fence up a popular site purportedly for the safety of visitors and to preserve the environment.

If visitors are not allowed to experience the beauty and serenity of nature, how else can they appreciate the environment as a whole?

Most visitors who made their way to the waterfall were nature lovers.

Other ways of protecting visitors and the environment should first be considered and implemented.

The basic step would be to put up a sign warning visitors that they were entering at their own risk.

While manpower constraints may forbid the department from deploying staff to monitor the site and check littering and other illegal activities, it can seek the assistance of nearby villagers and give them an allowance to keep a lookout.

Perhaps the department can propose that the Pahang government collects a small fee from visitors under a Rainbow Waterfall fund to cover the allowances and to maintain cleanliness or build certain facilities.

There should be no public uproar over this as visitors gladly pay to enter places of interest and pristine beauty such as the Tioman Island marine park and for parking at popular beaches in Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan.

Anti-littering signs and more rubbish bins should be placed at these locations as there are not enough of them.

State Arts, Tourism, Heritage, Women and Community Development Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif should issue reminders to all the parties concerned to weigh the consequences of implementing such drastic moves.

Measures which hinder visitors and impede visits to places of interest should be done away with as the tourism industry is among the main revenue earners for Pahang.

Imposing restrictions is not the answer as keen climbers and adventure seekers will find ways to gain entry, and should a tragedy occur as a result of this, the department will get blamed.

It is better to exercise control by registering visitors daily and conducting quick checks of back packs and barring items such as styrofoam lunch boxes and fishing equipment to safeguard the natural surroundings.

Such measures are better alternatives to imposing a ban on visitors as this may do more harm than good.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

MACC uncovers illegal logging at Perak-Pahang border

"License issued on Oct 16, 2009 and expired on Jan 15, 2010".
Meaning the license was for only THREE months by the Barisan Najis government. Easily confirm that any logging should be the same logging company. Don't tell me these illegal loggers cannot be traced. I guess they need the under table money to pay for the frogs without thinking about our natural heritage. If you have seen the TV news, video of raiding party was shown. Somebody had actually tipped the illegal loggers when road was blocked by logs. Someone in the foresty must be on the take. Damned the corrupted! Hell to these traitors!

Sunday March 7, 2010
MACC uncovers illegal logging at Perak-Pahang border

IPOH: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has uncovered illegal logging at a 100ha site near Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands at the Perak-Pahang border.

A MACC spokesman who declined to be named said the operation was conducted jointly with officers from Perak Forestry Department and Rela on Saturday.

The operation which began at 9am led to the discovery of hundreds of fallen trees worth millions and several pieces of heavy machinery.

“The culprits managed to escape after blocking the road with tree trunks and heavy machinery,” he added.

Initial investigation found that logging was still being carried out there although the licence issued on Oct 16, 2009 had expired on Jan 15, 2010.

The enforcement officers believed that more than 10 people were involved in illegal logging in the area.

He said this was based on the freshly cooked food found in a tent. -- Bernama

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ruler bans hunting of wildlife

Friday March 5, 2010

JOHOR BARU: There will be no more hunting in the state, Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almar­hum Sultan Iskandar decreed.

He said the ban was necessary to protect the wildlife especially protected species from decreasing or going extinct. Sultan Ibrahim said that besides tigers, the ban includes bears, deer, mousedeer, tapir and porcupines.

“The poaching of these animals are so cruel. Eating one tiger claw will not make you have tiger strength for months,” he said referring to beliefs that consuming certain animal parts would help boost virility.

He stressed that if wild animals were causing a nuisance to people or farmers, they should inform the Johor Wildlife Department (Perhilitan).

“We can organise shooters for wild boars or crows,” he said, adding that a meeting would be held with Perhitilitan to enforce the ruling immediately.

“I want to protect the wildlife in Johor and those caught poaching should be jailed,” he told The Star in an exclusive interview at his Istana Pasir Pelangi here yesterday.

Sultan Ibrahim said he was breeding several animals like tigers, panthers and deers with the intention of releasing them into the jungle.

Sultan Ibrahim has 400 deer, 12 Siberian, Indian and Bengal tigers as well as panthers.

He also has six tiger cubs as a result of his breeding programme.

“I am trying to protect wildlife here including starting a rehabilitation centre for deer in central Johor,” he said, adding that he also hoped to work with the World Wildlife Foundation.

Sultan Ibrahim said he had informers who would report to him if people continued hunting.

He also wanted the procedures for the issuance of gun licences in the state to be tightened.

He warned those who misused their gun licences that he would not hesitate to get the authorities to revoke their licences and seize their guns.

“The police must assist and conduct roadblocks in places known to be famous for hunting to ensure no one flouts the law,” he added.

Friday March 5, 2010
Private zoo implicated in smuggling of orangutan

PETALING JAYA: Besides keeping animals illegally, the controversial zoo in a southern state was also implicated in the smuggling of the critically endangered orangutan.

It was one of the private facilities in the country that is known to have acquired smuggled orangutan in recent years where the animals were confiscated and repatriated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).

This was confirmed by Perhilitan, thus contradicting the assertion of the zoo that the department took away a pair of its orangutan for breeding in Indonesia a year ago.

It is unclear if the zoo was penalised for the offence but it appeared that its special permit for orangutan was never revoked.

Instead, its orangutan collection was replaced; a six-year-old female was delivered in June last year followed by a 15-year-old male in December.

Perhilitan deputy director-general Misliah Mohamad Basir said the replacements were from the Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort as part of the department’s breeding loan programme, adding that it is an effort to promote eco-tourism in Johor.

In 2006, Malaysia repatriated seven Sumatran orangutan that were removed from a resort in Malacca and one from the Johor zoo following a nationwide DNA finger-printing exercise that revealed that 12 out of 58 orangutan held at seven facilities were Sumatran and the remaining 46 were Borneans.

However, in Perhilitan’s communication in 2005 with British-based NatureAlert that had taken an interest in the smuggled orangutan scandal, it was revealed that seven Borneans belonging to the Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii supspecies (found in Sarawak and western Kalimantan) would be repatriated.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Farmers fear invasion of the pipit

Wednesday March 3, 2010

KENINGAU: Farmers in this Sabah interior district are bracing for an invasion of birds – the padi field pipit (Anthus rufulus).

They fear losing half of their crop due to be harvested in about a week.

The pipit are known to be voracious birds and usually make their appearance in the afternoon.

“I just feel so helpless when these little birds swoop down on my padi crop,” said farmer Alexius Pitan, 52, as he watched over his 1.2ha field at Kampung Sook Station, some 200km from Kota Kinabalu.

He said the birds appeared to be undeterred by the scarecrows he had fashioned from sticks and dried grass.

Alexius and dozens of other padi farmers have begun fashioning scarecrows from their families’ clothing – including tee-shirts and shorts – as well as putting up plastic bags and cardboard pieces.

“We are doing everything to drive away the birds. Hopefully about 60% of my padi crop will survive,” he added.

Alexius said he noticed an increasing number of the birds in his fields with more forests around Keningau being cleared in recent years for oil palm plantations.

“I am not sure if the land clearing has anything to do with the presence of these birds, but all I know is that they are eating up so much of my hard work,” he sighed.

Popular zoo has tame front but may hide 'wild' activities

March 3, 2010

IT brands itself as a zoo and brags about the conservation works it does. It also proudly talks of its educational role in highlighting the plight of endangered species.

But behind its animal-loving front, this popular private establishment in the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia could be one of the worst examples of a successful commercial enterprise riding on the back of exploiting, breeding and trading in endangered animals.

This zoo, like several others, has earned a name for itself by announcing the birth of new tiger cubs to coincide with major events like the Lunar New Year, or even to commemorate the death of celebrities like Michael Jackson.

To many, it’s the perfect zoo. The beautiful cubs hog airtime and newsprint space, and the tills get filled by the long lines of visitors.

The Year of the Tiger promises to be a boon for the zoo.

A visit before Chinese New Year revealed that one of its tigresses is pregnant. The zoo also allows tiger cub to be hired and this has been a hit with many companies in the Tiger Year.

“We’re fully booked until year-end,” says the zoo keeper proudly. “People are willing to pay between RM1,000 and RM5,000 to ‘borrow’ a tiger cub for a day.”

He says the zoo has two cubs but only the eight-month-old is used for roadshows. Such activities have conservationists up in arms.

To have perfectly timed cubs require the adult tigers to be subjected to “controlled mating”. This as well as the “tiger cubs for hire” schemes are considered heinous and hardly in line with conservation.

The legality of the “rent a tiger cubs” schemes are also questionable. The zoo claims to have the requisite permits from the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) for everything it does but are these possible.

Perhilitan had to step in following a spate of pre-Chinese New Year publicity from establishments with tigers promoting photo sessions.

The zoo keeper confirms department’s order for such sessions to stop: “We have been told to hold on until further notice.”

The zoo’s justification is of course pure economics. “The money is needed to feed the animals,” the keeper says. He says the zoo’s Year of the Tiger roadshow could bring in enough revenue to cover expenses for six months.

“Photography sessions in the zoo would further contribute to 50% of the tigers’ maintenance costs,” he adds.

Another worrying result from the zoo’s breeding programme is the creation of mixed-breed tigers which Perhilitan has acknowledged as “worthless” in terms of conservation.

The Guidelines for Zoological Gardens prohibits the cross-breeding of species but this does not seem to concern the zoo keeper.

He says the zoo is allowed to carry out tiger breeding programme, again under a special permit issued to it by Perhilitan.

He says the zoo currently has 24 tigers and reproduction is controlled by having four pairs of breeding animals. As each pair is allowed to mate twice a year, the average newborns will be 32 cubs annually.

“Over the years, we have been cross-breeding them,” says the keeper. “Yeah, there’s a lot of new sub-species created in this way.” He nevertheless admits that the hybrid specimens produced by the zoo can never be released into the wild, dashing any claims to the zoo playing a conservation role.

Questions to Perhilitan such as if the special permit covered the offsprings and if the breeders are obliged to keep a record of its breeding programme were left unanswered.

Neither was the issue of why a zoo which talks of the need to raise money be allowed to operate a breeding facility.

There are also concerns of whether the zoo is involved in the trading of endangered species.

Asked if the zoo has ever sold cubs to anyone, the keeper merely answers that there is a market for tiger cubs and they could easily fetch between RM15,000 and RM30,000 per animal.

He acknowledges that the zoo has supplied three young tigers to another facility before.

Asked if money crossed hands, the keeper says: “That’s between my boss and them.” A spokesman from the other facility said its special permit was acquired through a subsidiary and the animals were obtained under an exchange programme. He, however, did not reveal what animals were exchanged.

The zoo has a run-down feel to it.

And, there is very little educational element involved. Signage is poor and many contained misinformation or just the basic name of the animals behind bars.