Coastal Horseshoe Crab (Tachypleus gigas)

Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon), 1st May 2017

This female Coastal Horseshoe Crab appears to have died while it was still carrying eggs.

Indonesia: Wild Elephants run amok after trapped calf dies in hole

By Apriadi Gunawan, 28th October 2017;

A herd of 12 wild Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) ran amok in a village in Langkat regency, North Sumatra, after failing to rescue an Elephant calf that was trapped in a hole.

Nine coconut trees, eight palm trees, five shacks and a jackfruit tree owned by the local residents of Sumber Waras village, Batang Serangan subdistrict, Langkat regency, were destroyed by the raging Elephants. No one was killed in the incident.

North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Region II conservation head Herbert Aritonang said the Elephants went on a rampage after they witnessed the baby Elephant die in a narrow hole 1.5 meters deep.

For three days, the wild Elephants attempted to rescue the trapped calf, but they instead pushed it deeper into the hole, which likely existed because of a removed stump, he said. “The baby Elephant’s body was pushed down because the soil around the hole fell down and covered half of its body,” Herbert told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

A joint team of officials from the BKSDA, Mount Leuser National Park and several NGOs found the baby Elephant dead on Sunday. However, the team could not easily recover the corpse because the herd lingered around it, Herbert said.

In order to ensure the safety of the team, they buried the corpse in the hole. “We found the baby Elephant dead with half of its body and four legs buried; only its back and head were visible. So our team covered it with soil to bury it,” Herbert said.

The 12 wild Elephants, comprising two males and several females and baby Elephants, lingered in the village area, which directly borders the national park, several days after the baby Elephant died.

They made loud noises and damaged the area, Herbert said, adding that the joint team had since deployed several personnel to protect the village and the local residents from the Elephants.

The population of Sumatran Elephants, who are a critically endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, plummeted to 1,700 in 2014 from 2,400 in 2007, according to data from the Indonesia Elephant Conservation Forum.

Human-wildlife conflict is suspected to be a contributing factor to the population’s decline.

Several months ago, a 12-year old female Elephant was found dead from suspected poisoning near the national park in Barak Gajah village, Sei Lepan subdistrict, Langkat.

Meanwhile, BKSDA spokesperson Alfianto Siregar said the incident marked the first time wild Elephants showed aggressive behavior in the village.

Groups of wild Elephants usually passed by the village once every three months and they never got into conflicts with the residents, who were used to seeing Elephants in the area, he said.

The team’s investigation found no indication that the baby Elephant died from human interference, such as from poison or an Elephant trap, Alfianto said, adding that the calf died purely because it was trapped.

Source: Jakarta Post

Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

27th October 2017;

Fishing nets are a threat to the marine ecosystem, which is proven yet again when a group of local fishermen recently saved four Sea Turtles and ending their week of misery of being caught in the fishing nets.

As reported by Kosmo!, the group stumbled upon the distressing scene at roughly 9am on Wednesday (Oct 25) with one of the four endangered marine reptiles in a fragile state as one of its hind legs was almost cut off while its abdomen was bloated.

The captain of the crew, Wan Abdul Halim Wan Mohamed Dom, recounted that they found the trawling net, which entrapped the found Sea Turtles, at 22 nautical miles from the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty and are convinced that it may have belonged to foreign fishermen.

The 43-year-old went on to elaborate that he along with his three-man crew were on their way to their fishing spot to collect the fish that have been caught, when they came across the foreign trawling net.

“We found a trawling net that was 200 metres long and 10 metres wide. After we pulled it out and cut it open, we found two Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and two Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata),” the captain revealed to Kosmo! yesterday.

While Wan Abdul Halim shared that three of the Sea Turtles have been released to the sea, the severely injured turtle was taken back to the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty for treatment purposes.

He conveyed to the Malay daily that the Persatuan Khazanah Rakyat Ma’ Daerah (MEKAR) Kerteh has been informed of the discovery of the injured Hawksbill Turtle, prior handing it over to the Turtles and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) in Rantau Abang yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Research Institute Officer Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad communicated that initial inspection revealed that the Hawksbill Turtle was severely injured and therefore, preventing it to swim normally.

“Based on its physical condition, it’s believed that the Hawksbill Turtle was trapped in the drift nets for a long period of time.

"The aquatic reptile is estimated to be between four and six years old and will be treated until it is fully recovered prior releasing it back to the ocean,” he affirmed.

Mohd Tamimi also underlined that the drift nets are believed to have belonged to foreign fishermen, who invaded Malaysian waters as the Department of Fisheries has banned the total use of trawling nets.

Sinar Harian reported that the officer revealed that many Sea Turtles have swam towards the middle of the sea following Vietnamese fishermen illegally harvesting marine produce mostly in the vicinity of Pulau Tenggol.

“Their illegal actions are damaging the coral reefs, which happens to be the primary ecosystem for Sea Turtles,” he lamented.

“I’m proud of the immediate action taken by our local fishermen to rescue the endangered Sea Turtles, that are protected under the Fisheries Act 1985,” he applauded.

Wan Abdul Halim on the other hand expressed his hope that enforcement measures will continue to improve as a means to ensure that foreign fishermen will not continue to threat out marine ecosystem.

Source: Malaysian Digest

Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

Malaysia: Tapir found mutilated to death in Hulu Langat after footage of its capture raises suspicion
26th October 2017;

Social media was abuzz after the mutilated remains of a Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus) was found at Taman Desa Saujana, Batu 14 Hulu Langat yesterday at 1:30am – triggering speculations that the endangered species may have died in a rescue mission gone wrong.

An earlier footage of a Tapir being subdued with ropes while it was wildly thrashing around with a Bomba vehicle spotted in the background has stirred speculation over what had happened.

The incident, which went viral, caught the attention of Channel News Asia (CNA) correspondent, Sumisha Naidu, who took to social media to express her concern and woe over the heart breaking incident.

“This is appalling and heartbreaking. I do not know what happened yet but official investigations are ongoing. I will also say I KNOW there are many good people at Perhilitan – but whatever happened here is just…” she wrote in a Facebook posting yesterday (Oct 25).

“Please remember that most of the time these animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. Tapirs are herbivores, they have bad eyesight, they’re usually harmless unless they feel threatened.”

However, investigations conducted by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) unearthed that the Tapir wandered into a nearby residential area after escaping from a forest reserve, which prompted civilians to contact the Fire and Rescue department.

“The Tapir’s death will affect the population of the wildlife, and therefore we take this matter seriously,” PERHILITAN Director Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim criticised the incident, and reminded that the public should not take arbitrary measures to save endangered animals, Harian Metro reports.

“However, the cause of death will be determined once the post-mortem report is out,” he said.

Additionally, Abdul Kadir relayed that the investigations are currently underway and underlined that the perpetrators will be convicted under Section 68, which carries a fine of up to RM100,000 or imprisoned for up to three years.

Source: Malaysian Digest

Preliminary investigations found that the carcass of the Tapir had some parts of its body such as ears, front leg, trunk and skin, mutilated.
Photos: Khairul Azri Facebook

Malaysia: Mutilated Tapir may have been strangled to death
26th October 2017;

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has initiated an investigation into an adult male Tapir’s death that happened yesterday.

Its director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said preliminary investigations by the department found that the carcass of the Malayan Tapir ( (Tapirus indicus) located at Taman Desa Saujana, Batu 14, Hulu Langat had some parts of its body such as ears, front leg, trunk and skin mutilated.

Abdul Kadir said based on interviews with residents of Taman Desa Saujana and the security guard on duty that night revealed the Tapir had initially wandered into the neighbourhood and later fell into a drain.

“In an effort to rescue the Tapir, the residents had contacted the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM), Fire and Rescue Department and the police.

"The rescue operation carried out by the APM and Fire and Rescue Department ended at 1am but had left the Tapir dead and its carcass was abandoned at the scene. Residents were present during the rescue operation,” he said in a statement.

Perhilitan had also voiced its concern over the death of an adult Tapir, as it has an impact on wildlife population in its habitat.

“The Tapir’s cause of death will be determined through a post-mortem.

"However, the initial observation of the Department has hinted that possible cause of death was due to stress and inappropriate rescue methods.

"From pictures sent to us by residents, it can be seen that three length of ropes were used and tied around the Tapir’s neck to pull it up,” he said adding it could have been strangled to death.

Abdul Kadir reminded the public to not take matters into their own hands and contact the nearest Perhilitan branch to seek wildlife rescue assistance especially if they encounter any large mammal or endangered species.

Ill treatment of wildlife is punishable under Section 86 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) and if convicted, the offender can be fined of up to RM50,000 or imprisoned up to one year or both.

“In addition, Tapirs are a fully protected species under Act 716 where taking and keeping a fully protected wildlife is an offense under Section 68 and those convicted can be fined up to RM100,000 or imprisoned up to three years or both,” he said.

Source: New Straits Times