A bull elephant was found dead in West Aceh on April 13. Its tusks were missing; its trunk was severed from its body. Photos by Khaidar and Iwan

Indonesia: Two more Sumatran Elephants found dead in Aceh
By Junaidi Hanafiah and Chik Rini, 27th April 2015;

A pair of critically endangered Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) were found dead this month in Indonesia’s Aceh province, just the latest casualties for a species that has been brought into increasing conflict with humans amid the country’s oil palm boom.

First, on April 13 in Kareung Hampa village, West Aceh regency, a bull elephant was found with its tusks missing and trunk severed about 150 meters from an oil palm estate belonging to Agro Sinergi Nusantara. It was thought to have perished a week earlier.

An autopsy revealed a bullet hole in the elephant’s head, likely the work of poachers in search of ivory, according to Genman Suhefti Hasibuan, the head of Aceh’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

Poachers have exploited the rising frequency of human-wildlife conflict to kill bull elephants near residential areas, he added.

“They slaughter elephants as is often done by people whose gardens they damage,” Genman said.

Then, on April 20 in Seumah Jaya village, East Aceh regency, residents alerted the authorities when they saw an injured elephant hobbling near their fields. Its right leg had been injured in a snare trap.

“The people immediately reported it to the BKSDA so the elephant could be treated and evacuated,” said Syahrul, a resident.

The creature perished shortly thereafter.

Since 2012, around 200 Sumatran Elephants have died out of a population of 1,700, according to the Indonesia Elephant Forum (FGI). Aceh alone has seen 36 casualties.

Environmentalists cited weak law enforcement as a major culprit.

“If the law is not enforced to prevent the killing of elephants, we could see their extinction in 10 years,” WWF-Indonesia’s Sunarto said.

The cases of elephant deaths, he added, are inseparable from human-wildlife conflict that has arisen as a result of the widespread conversion of elephant habitat into oil palm plantations.

“We need a comprehensive system overhaul and rearrangement of plantation zoning that do not threaten the habitat of protected wildlife like the Sumatran Elephant,” Sunarto said.

Acehnese environmental activist TM Zulfikar also urged the government to better protect the elephant.

“Everyone is waiting for concrete action from the government, especially law enforcement officials, to apprehend and prosecute wildlife poachers in Aceh,” he said. “This must be done, otherwise we will know [the Sumatran Elephant] by name only.”

Produced in English by Philip Jacobson.

Source: Mongabay

Today is World Tapir Day! World Tapir Day exists to raise awareness about the species of tapir that inhabit Central and South America and Southeast Asia, and to raise funds to purchase land to protect it from human encroachment.

There are four (possibly five) living species of tapir, but only one species lives in this part of the world. The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus) inhabits the forests of tropical Southeast Asia, but was always thought to be absent from Singapore. However, there have been claims of tapirs living on the island of Pulau Ubin.

The only definitive proof though came about in 1986, when a tapir fell into a granite quarry and died, presumably from the fall. Unfortunately, the carcass was not salvaged, and this photo, taken by a resident, is the only piece of evidence to show that at least one Malayan Tapir lived (and died) in Pulau Ubin.

To this day, there are no other official records of Malayan Tapir on Pulau Ubin, or anywhere else in Singapore. It’s possible that this particular tapir, and any other tapir that may have lived in Pulau Ubin, were strays that swam across from Johor.

Unfortunately, habitat loss and hunting are severe threats to the continued survival of Malayan Tapir elsewhere in the region.

(Photo from the Pulau Ubin Stories blog)

Wing of Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina)
Sungei Buloh, 9th March 2015

Marine graveyard: A resident covering his nose due to the foul smell caused by the thousands of dead fish clogging up the Malacca River.

Malaysia: There’s something fishy in the water, say residents
By R.S.N. Murali, 23rd April 2015;

Thousands of dead Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) fish have been found floating along the Malacca River near Kampung Enam by the city centre here.

The dead fish were found floating along a 3km-long stretch of the river and preliminary checks showed the cause to be poisoning.

State Housing, Local Government and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ismail Othman said the report from the Department of Environment on the incident would be discussed at the exco meeting today.

He said tests conducted on water samples showed the river’s pH scale and oxygen level to be normal.

On Tuesday, residents living along the riverbank complained about a strong stench due to the dead fish that were clogging up the river from Kampung Enam to Bachang.

A resident named Latipah Abdul Wahab, 44, said the stench was unbearable.

“I could not even cook for the whole day because of the strong smell,” she said.

Special officer under the Development and Programme Co-ordination of Kesidang state constituency Harun Ali said it was the first time such an incident happened near the area.

“I believe it was caused by hazardous material that was discharged into the river by irresponsible individuals,” he said.

Workers from several government agencies were roped in to clear the fish carcasses and almost 95% of the affected area was cleared by 4.30pm yesterday.

Source: The Star