Wednesday, January 26, 2011


6,000 GM mozzies released in Bentong
Wednesday January 26, 2011 MYT 10:45:48 AM

PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) released about 6,000 genetically-modified (GM) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes last month in a test to detect the insects' flight range and survivability in the wild.

IMR said in statement that the the mosquitos were released in an uninhabited forest near Bentong, Pahang on Dec 21.

"The experiment was concluded on Jan 5 and fogging was done on Jan 6. IMR will monitor the area for up to 2 months," the statement said.

The field trial had raised concerns from NGOs. The Government approved the trial after several tests were carried out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Neighbours’ support sought to stop GM mozzie field trials

Thursday January 20, 2011

THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) have sent memorandums to the health ministries of neighbouring countries to oppose the release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Bentong and Alor Gajah.

CAP and SAM president SM Mohamed Idris said Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia should have been consulted in the decision to push ahead with GM mosquito field trials that are aimed at stunting the growth of Aedes mosquitoes.

He said the memorandum was also sent to Malaysia’s Health Ministry along with other related ministries and departments.

“There are some unanswered questions about the impact of the proposed releases,” Mohamed Idris said, dubbing the modified insects as ‘terminator mosquitoes’ due to their genetically altered state.

He said this at a press conference at the CAP office yesterday.

He also urged the National Biosafety Board (NBB) to revoke its approval to the Institute for Medical Research for the field experiments.

Earlier this month, it was reported that field trials for GM mosquitoes releases in Bentong and Alor Gajah were delayed due to the rainy season last month.

The objective of the project is to allow normal Aedes-carrying female mosquitoes (only female mosquitos bite) to mate with the male GM mosquitoes that carry a conditional lethality trait, resulting in any offspring dying before they reach adulthood.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another Roadkill

January 15, 2011
Probe on jumbo accident Dept to summon truck driver who knocked down elephant

THE Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department has launched an investigation into a road accident that killed a female elephant at KM32 of the East-West Highway near the Banding Lake in Gerik.

Department director Shabrina Mohd Shariff said they would be summoning the 32-year-old truck driver who had knocked down the elephant to record his statement.

“We want to determine whether the driver was driving too fast or if there was poor visibility during the incident,” Shabrina said when contacted yesterday.

“The animal was also dark in colour and the driver may not have noticed it during the night,” she said.

The elephant was killed when it was hit by the cement truck at the highway on Thursday at about 1am.

Although the driver was unhurt, the front part of his vehicle was seriously damaged.

Shabrina also said that the area where the elephant was hit was a common spot where herds of elephants would cross.

“It is also common for the wild animals to cross it at night,” she said.

She also pointed out that signboards, which advise road users about the presence of elephants, were placed at various parts of the highway.

Shabrina said the elephant, with a foot diameter of 36cm, had been buried.

She said that the one killed was from a herd of five elephants from the Temenggor Forest Reserve.

There are currently about 30 elephants at the Temenggor Forest Reserve and another 60 inside the Royal Belum Forest Reserve area, which are near the highway, she added.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More male turtles needed

January 13, 2011

GEORGE TOWN: Penang is trying to hatch more male turtles to mate with females so that the reptiles will not disappear from the island’s coastlines.

The Pantai Kerachut Turtle Conservation Sanctuary is working to maintain a breeding ratio of 70 females to 30 males under a programme which began three years ago.

Department licensing and resource protection officer Mansor Yobe said they needed to have more male turtles for the females which come to shore to lay their eggs eight times a year.

“If we don’t do this, there may not be any turtles left here in future,” he said at the sanctuary at the north-west tip of Penang island.

Besides Green Turtles, the Olive Ridley Turtles are also known to lay their eggs at Pantai Kerachut, Pantai Teluk Kampi, Pantai Teluk Ailing and Pantai Teluk Ketapang on the island’s north-west coast.

Mansor said records from 2000 until 2006 showed that close to 100% of all hatchlings at the sanctuary were females.

He said they then started testing various sites by burying the eggs in shaded spots under trees or in cooler areas to try to get more male turtles hatched.

He added that a shaded hatchery was built at a cost of RM16,500 in 2009 to help determine the gender of the turtles.

“After collecting the eggs from several sites, we placed them in the shaded hatchery where the temperature is about 28.2 degrees Celsius.

“Eggs buried in the sand outside the shaded hatchery will produce females as the temperature there is hotter at 30 degrees Celsius,” he said.

He said eggs at the sanctuary were hatched on the beach rather than in a temperature-controlled incubator because research has shown this produced healthier hatchlings.

He said last year, some 5,000 eggs were collected and 70% were successfully hatched.

“We hope to collect the same number this year,” he said, adding that the peak period for turtles to lay eggs is between December and August.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The God must be crazy?

Sunday January 2, 2011
More than 1,000 dead birds fall from sky in US

BEEBE, Arkansas: Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said the birds fell over a 2km area, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.

Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail."

The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.

Robby King, a wildlife officer for the agency, collected about 65 dead birds, which will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Wisconsin.

Rowe said that similar events have occurred elsewhere and that test results "usually were inconclusive." She said she doubted the birds were poisoned. - AP