Top: Decomposing carcass of an adult Orangutan in the forest of Southwest Aceh.
Bottom: Elephant bones found with a noose near Gunung Leuser National Park. This Elephant’s ivory is missing.
Photos by Leuser Conservation Forum

Indonesia: Poachers target Elephants, Tigers in Sumatran park
By Loren Bell, 31st July 2014;

The Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Indonesia is gaining the attention of international animal traffickers, according to the Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL). From the beginning of 2013, FKL patrols have dismantled 282 makeshift traps targeting high value threatened species, and the situation is getting worse.

“This is a crisis for Leuser,” said Dediansyah, Director of FKL, “We have found many wild animal traps in the forest installed by hunters. Their major targets are Sumatran Tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus).”

The snares are typically constructed from simple materials of varying size and design depending on the animal. In 2013, FKL patrols dismantled 127 such devices: 43 set for Tigers, 32 for birds, 20 for deer, 19 for Elephants, and 13 for Sumatran Rhinoceroses (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). In the first six months of 2014, patrols found 160, suggesting an marked increase in hunting activity.

In addition, FKL patrols have found several Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Elephant carcasses, which investigators believe were the victims of hunting.

On the south end of Gunung Leuser National Park, FKL investigated four separate Elephant carcasses found with their tusks removed. The team discovered large steel cable snares, pit traps, and poison in the surrounding areas. Near one Elephant, a large number of bent and broken trees indicate that the animal was caught by its leg, and thrashed about trying to escape until it presumably died from exhaustion.

“[The hunters] seem to know where the Elephants migrate,” said Dedi, “and install traps along that route and wait for the Elephant to stumble across them.”

According to Dedi, more hunters are coming from outside the region, working in cooperation with wildlife traffickers. In addition to regular hunting for meat and the pet trade, an increased demand for body parts on the international Chinese medicine market has put pressure on Leuser. Unlike most other forests in Indonesia, Leuser’s wild animal population is still relatively intact and abundant.

In addition to tigers and elephants, other commonly hunted animals include Hornbills (F. Bucerotidae), Deer (F. Cervidae), and Orangutan, while songbirds are regularly trapped for sale in the pet markets.

During the last year, Porcupine (F. Hystricidae) hunting in particular has seen a sharp increase, with the price for a single animal reaching Rp 300,000 ($26). It is believed that bezoar stones (masses of undigested organic and inorganic material) found inside the digestive tracts of some of these animals have medicinal or magical powers. Reportedly, stones sell in the city of Medan in Indonesia for Rp 5-10 million ($430 – $860) apiece.

Currently, FKL has only eight patrol teams working in cooperation with the Forestry Department to monitor only four of the 13 regencies that comprise the 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem.

Source: Mongabay

1. As we opened the stomach we found out why the whale was dehydrated and died. Blocking the Intestines was a plastic bag used for chips.
2. [no caption]
3. Ovaries.
4. Upon opening the ovaries our hearts dropped. The Dwarf Sperm Whale was pregnant.
5. Baby Dwarf Sperm Whale.
6. Baby Dwarf Sperm Whale.

Some days have their ups and downs. This day did. Released a rescued Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) then responded to a stranded Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima) that died 10 hours later. The cause was the worst. Huge thanks to BFAR QRT Region 11, the Philippine Coast Guard and those who helped.

Source: D’ Bone Collector Museum Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

(This is Part 2 of a 2-part photo set)

This Dwarf Sperm Whale stranded and died last 23 July in Davao City. Its death is attributed to a plastic bag (Yari Ka Corn Chips brand) blocking its intestines.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

This fetus of a Dwarf Sperm Whale was recovered from the womb of a stranded animal last week in Davao City. The mother reportedly died due to complications brought about by plastic bag ingestion. Adult Dwarf Sperm Whales can reach a length of 2.7m. Sad.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

1. Frustration at the inevitable fate of this one.
2. Chewed up and scraped up.
3. BFAR QRT keeping the whales skin wet.
4. The holes are bite marks from Cookie Cutter Sharks (Isistius brasiliensis).
5. These injuries are likely to be from the initial stranding before she was found.
6. Dead eyes: seconds after the whale died

Some days have their ups and downs. This day did. Released a rescued Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) then responded to a stranded Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima) that died 10 hours later. The cause was the worst. Huge thanks to BFAR QRT Region 11, the Philippine Coast Guard and those who helped.

Source: D’ Bone Collector Museum Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

(This is Part 1 of a 2-part photo set)

Hundreds of dead fish removed from Pandan reservoir; water quality unaffected

By Feng Zengkun, 28th July 2014;

Hundreds of dead fish have been removed from Pandan Reservoir over the past few days by the authorities, and the clean-up was still ongoing yesterday afternoon.

National water agency PUB told The Straits Times that it had found low levels of dissolved oxygen in the reservoir water, which likely led to the deaths.

“This could be caused by a combination of factors such as dry weather, algae growth and decomposing organic matter taking up the dissolved oxygen,” said a spokesman.

Tests on water samples showed the reservoir’s water quality was not affected, but PUB said it would monitor the situation.

It added that it has a comprehensive system to keep an eye on the quality of the raw water in the reservoirs, and the water is also treated to World Health Organisation drinking water guidelines before being supplied to households.

Meanwhile, PUB has stepped up measures to increase the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.

The reservoir usually has an aerator that runs around the clock and a fountain turned on thrice a day to stir the water.

They help to dissolve atmospheric oxygen into the water.

The fountain has been operating non-stop since Friday after the deaths of the fish.

“We have also deployed five additional portable aerators to the reservoir,” said the spokesman.

She added that the rain yesterday morning has helped to increase levels of dissolved oxygen. “Rainwater creates movement in the reservoir water, thereby improving aeration and distributing the dissolved oxygen more evenly.”

Dead fish were also spotted in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve last week, and some people claimed parts of Sungei Buloh Besar turned black.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said it is working with the National Parks Board to investigate the deaths.

It warned that it would take action against farms found to be illegally dumping waste in the water.

Source: The Straits Times

Hundreds of dead fish removed from Pandan reservoir; water quality unaffected

Common Snakehead or Aruan (Channa striata)
Sungei Buloh, 12th March 2014

This Common Snakehead was one of several adult snakeheads that perished when one of the freshwater ponds at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve dried up during the dry spell that occurred earlier this year.

Although some snakehead species are capable of surviving droughts by burrowing into the mud and aestivating, or escaping shrinking water bodies by wriggling over dry land in search of new refuges, it appears that these individuals were too large, and the nearest large pond too far away, for any of these survival strategies to be effectively employed.

Thailand: The fourth dead Irrawaddy Dolphin for this year
27th July 2014;

An adult Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) was found dead on the beach in Krasaesin district of Songkhla on Sunday, according to Mr Uthai Yodchan, chairman of the dolphin conservation club in Songkhla.

The male dolphin which was badly decomposed at the time it was found was about 15 years, two metres long and weighed about 100 kilogrammes. It was the fourth dead dolphin in the Songkhla Lake this year.

Mr Uthai said veterinarians from the Marine Resources Research Centre in Sonkhla had taken samples of the innards and flesh of the animal to be tested at the laboratory in order to determine the cause of the death. He said initial examination of the dolphin did not show any signs that the animal was trapped in a fishing net.

Mr Santi Nilrat, a fishing expert attached to the Marine Resourdes Research Centre, expressed concern that the Irrawaddy Dolphins in Songkhla Lake were in danger of going extinct.

The death rates of the dolphins since 2010 are as follows: 13 in 2010, 10 in 2011, 14 in 2012, seven in 2013 and four this year.

Source: Thai PBS

Checking up on dead fishes at Sungei Buloh
By Ria Tan, 27th July 2014;

On 24 Jul I saw 40 dead fishes at Sungei Buloh in the morning. That same afternoon, I heard the Sungei Buloh Besar river turned black again. The river had turned black the day before, and a lot more dead fishes were seen two days before that.

On 25 Jul, I returned to Sungei Buloh to check on the dead fish situation. I also attended the opening of the Lorong Halus Jetty where for the first time in decades, fish farmers in the East are provided with industrial-sized trash disposal containers dedicated to fish farm trash on the mainland.

There were not many freshly dead fishes. I saw about 30 dead fishes and most looked like they died in the days before.

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Source: Wild Shores of Singapore