Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Belum Sandiwara

Sandiwara means play acting. In Malaysia politicians are expert in sandiwara. Corruption and greed are two of the menace killing the environment and nature. When will they stop? Temenggor Forest Reserve is home to thousand of Plain pouched Hornbills....and this idiot just don't seem to understand the reason to gazette the forests! Tamby hoi, this PPHs need big trees to nest. Logging will make them homeless! Ada faham?


Be reasonable with demands to gazette forests, says MB
September 20, 2011

IPOH: Environmental and wildlife groups should be more objective when demanding that forested areas in the state be gazetted as non-logging areas, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

He said despite the state government having gazetted an area about five times the size of Singapore in Royal Belum as a state park, such groups were demanding more.

“Are they asking for the whole of Perak to be gazetted? After the Royal Belum, they now want us to gazette the whole of Temengor Forest Reserve.

“Later, they may also request forested areas in Pangkor to be gazetted.

“Let us be objective. Logging cannot be stopped completely because timber is one of the major industries which generate revenue for the state,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Shigeru Nakamura at his office here yesterday.

Dr Zambry was commenting on calls by such groups for forests along the Gerik-Jeli highway to be gazetted as part of the Royal Belum or a forest reserve to ensure the long-term survival of wildlife.

He said economic progress would be hindered if the state government were to fulfil all their demands.

Dr Zambry said Perak was among the few states that had a sustainable forest management concept.

“While allowing logging activities, we are also serious about protecting the state’s rainforests,” he stressed.

On the forest clearing activities in the Belum-Temengor wildlife corridor, Dr Zambry said he would wait for an in-depth probe to be completed first.

”We also want to know the actual situation and if the report is accurate,” he said


September 20, 2011
‘Step up Belum enforcement’

PETALING JAYA: Intensified enforcement is needed to prevent poachers from encroaching into the Royal Belum State Park, said wildlife protection groups.

This is necessary following the clearing of a logging road in the major wildlife corridor.

The groups called for coordinated patrols to be heightened.

WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the logging road in the Sungai Mendelum area was easily accessible from the Gerik-Jeli highway.

He said the organisation had previously raised the alarm on poaching snares discovered in state land forests in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) a month ago.

“The wire snares were camouflaged so well that a team assistant’s foot got caught,” he said in a statement yesterday, adding that a camera-trap placed in the area had captured a photo of possible poachers.

Another camera-trap had captured a photo of a Malayan sun bear, which was missing one foot.

The injury was consistent with an animal who lost a limb while trying to free itself from a snare, he said.

The field team also heard three gunshots from a distance while they were in the area.

Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed said illegal hunting and poaching were rampant in the area.

He said gazetting the entire BTFC was the only way to “truly protect” the area from illegal clearing and wildlife poaching.

“We should protect our natural heritage,” said Prof Maketab.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir earlier ordered a stop to all alleged land clearing activities in the Sungai Mendelum area pending a probe into the matter.

Environmentalists have called for a permanent halt to development plans as the area is frequently used by wildlife to cross from Royal Belum to the Temengor Forest Reserve.


September 21, 2011
Strong case for Lower Belum and Temengor conservation
The Star Says

PERAK is extremely proud of the fact that it had in 2003 set aside 117,500ha of forest north of the East-West Highway as the Royal Belum State Park.

However, to the dismay of conservationists, the park excluded forests south of the highway, the Lower Belum and Temengor Forest Reserves, which both remain as “production forest reserve” destined for logging.

Also left out is the 1,820m width of state land on either side of the East-West Highway.

Plans to develop this state land are many.

They range from commercial crops and vegetable agriculture to orang asli farming schemes and construction of university campuses and research centres.

Scientists say leaving the forest reserves and state land unprotected is a mistake for they are important wild habitats too.

Royal Belum is just over a quarter of the 4,343sq km that make up Taman Negara and, on its own, is not sufficient for the survival of large mammals such as the elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.

It needs to be backed up by Lower Belum and Temengor.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) even wants the adjacent Gerik and Lepang Nenering Forest Reserves to be added to the state park.

Collectively, these will create a sprawling, contiguous wild sanctuary.

Without the adjoining forests, Royal Belum is all but an island of wilderness in a sea of logged and farmed areas.

The East-West Highway has already sliced the wild area into two and obstructed animal movements. Wildlife migrating between Belum and Temengor have ended up as road kill.

And with increased human activity comes the opening of new roads which will give poachers easy access to wild areas. More and more snares and poachers' camps are being discovered in Belum-Temengor.

In the National Physical Plan, the whole of Hulu Perak is marked as a Rank 1 Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), a ranking that disallows development, agriculture or logging.

This last large tract of forest in Perak is a final stronghold for wildlife.

It shelters 14 threatened mammals and an array of unique plants and animals. Internationally, Belum-Temengor is identified as a Tiger Conservation Landscape it is crucial for the long-term survival of the big cat.

The site has one of the world's greatest concentrations of hornbills 10 species are found here and the rare phenomenon of plain-pouched hornbills gathering by the thousands.

Temengor must not be seen only for its timber and land worth.

This is a mistake: the Malaysian Nature Society had a few years ago estimated that timber yields amount to only between RM58mil and RM250mil annually, whereas the other products and ecological services which the forest provides such as water supply, tourism, non-timber forest products, carbon sink, pharmaceuticals, flood control, fisheries and electricity generation are worth some RM1bil to RM1.2bil.

Keeping Belum-Temengor intact, therefore, seems to make sense.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Malaysia identified as a major transit point for elephant tusk smugglers

Saturday September 3, 2011

PETALING JAYA: More than 20 tonnes of illegal ivory have passed through at least two Malaysian ports since 2003, earning the country an unsavoury reputation as a transhipment hub for the multi-million ringgit trade and the figure involves only those seized.

Wildlife monitoring trade network Traffic regional director Dr William Schaedla said Malaysia had become a major hub for illegal ivory trade in the last few years.

This could have been caused by stricter enforcement measures in neighbouring countries, leading smugglers to venture through Malaysian ports, he said.

“Smugglers tend to move to an easier' place. If enforcement in other countries heats up, then they will find a soft spot elsewhere,” he said.

It was reported that 794 African ivory tusks were confiscated by Hong Kong authorities on Monday after they arrived by sea from Malaysia. The tusks, weighing 1.9 tonnes and estimated to be worth around HK$13mil (RM4.97mil), was concealed in a consignment declared as non-ferrous products for factory use.

The seizure came after last week's report that more than 1,000 elephant tusks were seized by Tanzanian authorities. The tusks were hidden in a strong-smelling container of anchovies destined for Malaysia.

The huge amount of ivory being shipped accounts for thousands of elephants killed in the past few decades. Some tusks come from freshly-killed animals while others are from stockpiles.

Dr Schaedla said it was vital that Malaysia increased its regional cooperation and exchange of information with Asean countries via the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network.

He also suggested that customs officers improve their communication mechanisms by using the Ecomessage system set up by Interpol. (Ecomessage is a database to coordinate international efforts to combat environmental crime, including illegal trafficking of wildlife.)

Local enforcement agencies should gather intelligence or information and bring it to the National Central Bureau (NCB) located at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Dr Schaedla said Malaysian customs officers should also work with the World Customs Organisation's regional intelligence liaison offices to exchange information and intelligence effectively.

However, Dr Schaedla commended the Customs Department for heightening its enforcement measures of late, saying: “Malaysia is now quite serious about wildlife crime but still has a long way to go.”

Traffic has identified Malaysia as “a country of concern” in its latest Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report.

Records of confiscated ivory shipments showed several seizures in other countries had transited through Penang and Pasir Gudang, which were considered “high-volume” ports.

Among the countries that seized ivory shipments after transiting through Malaysian ports were Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

The latter two are themselves known transit hubs for the illegal ivory trade, according to Traffic reports.

A general manager of a shipping company said there were around 50,000 to 100,000 containers which entered ports for transit in a month, adding that the containers were allowed to be stored free in the container yard for 28 days.

He claimed that Customs officers would only conduct an X-ray inspection on containers if they had a tip-off.

According to the World Wildlife Fund Global website, there could have been as many as three to five million African elephants in the 1930s and 1940s.

However, today, only some 300,000 elephants roam southern Africa and considerably fewer in West Africa.