Daily Decay (3rd March 2018)

Daily Decay (3rd March 2018): Skull of Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus) @ Buona Vista

This skull of a Domestic Cat was found along the KTM railway tracks that run through Buona Vista, back when the trains still travelled along this stretch. It had most probably been killed by a passing train.

World Wildlife Day 2018

World Wildlife Day falls on 3rd March every year, and it’s a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The theme for World Wildlife Day in 2018 is “Big cats: predators under threat”. Big cats, and their smaller relatives, are among the most widely recognized and admired animals across the globe. However, today these charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats, which are mostly caused by human activities. Overall, their populations are declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade.

In Singapore, both the Tiger (Panthera tigris) and Leopard (Panthera pardus) were wiped out, but the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) still survives. However, it too is threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The roads that run along and through our forest fragments take their toll. For example, it was feared that the Leopard Cat had become extinct in mainland Singapore, until 2001, when a roadkill was found in Mandai, on the fringes of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Another roadkill was reported from Jalan Bahar, along the edge of the Western Catchment, in 2007.

Roads also threaten Leopard Cats and other wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia – even big cats are not spared. There are two notable recent incidents: in February 2016, a Malayan Tiger was hit by a car as it crossed the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 in Terengganu, which cuts through a forest reserve. A necropsy revealed that it was a pregnant tigress. And in June 2017, a melanistic Leopard (typically called a ‘black panther’) was found dead along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh in Pahang, not far from an eco-viaduct that serves as a wildlife crossing.

Over the past century we have been losing wild cats, among the planet’s most majestic predators, at an alarming rate. World Wildlife Day 2018 gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about their plight and to galvanize support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species.

Photo credits: Leopard Cat roadkill by Charith Pelpola
Tiger and Leopard roadkills from New Straits Times

Daily Decay (16th February 2018)

Daily Decay (16th February 2018): Domestic Dog (Canis lupus familiaris) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

This carcass of a feral Dog was found in the mangroves in 2015. The cause of death was unknown.

Sumatran Palm Civet

 

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Sumatran Palm Civet (Paradoxurus musangus)
Clementi Road, 3rd January 2015

This Sumatran Palm Civet was likely killed after getting hit by a motor vehicle. Photos were shared by N. Sivasothi.

The Common Palm Civet was recently split into several species, based on both morphological and molecular studies. The name Paradoxurus hermaphroditus is now restricted to the populations found in India, Indochina, and southern China (henceforth known as the Indian Palm Civet). Common Palm Civets in Singapore are now classified as Sumatran Palm Civet (Paradoxurus musangus), along with those in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java.

Find out how you can contribute to Monday Morgue too.

  1. Police responding to the scene where a motorcycle failed to swerve in time and crashed into a Sun Bear on the East Coast Expressway 2.
  2. A group of men skinning and disfiguring a Tapir that was killed in a car accident the night before in Gua Musang (Dec 24).
  3. Photos: Malaysian Response Team and Ediey King, via The Star

    Malaysia: Spate of rare animal deaths in Malaysia sparks alarm
    28th December 2017;

    The deaths of two Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus) and a Tapir (Tapirus indicus) in Malaysia sparked fresh alarm among activists Thursday at the growing number of exotic animals perishing in the biodiverse country.

    A Sun Bear and Tapir were killed in road accidents in the northeast of the country on Christmas Eve, with the Tapir skinned by villagers after its carcass was discovered, environmental group WWF said.

    A second Sun Bear was killed and cut up, with its parts spotted on the same day sold openly at a market in Sarawak state on Borneo island, local media reported.

    “Despite all efforts from various organisations and government bodies, yet again, we as a nation, have failed to stand up for our Malaysian wildlife,” said Dionysius Sharma, WWF-Malaysia executive director.

    “If we do not take drastic measures to protect our wildlife now, we may lose them to extinction in the near future.”

    Tropical, jungle-clad Malaysia is home to a dizzying array of wildlife, from Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) to Pangolins (Manis javanica), but their numbers have been dwindling.

    They are targeted by poachers, their natural habitat has been shrinking due to expansion of plantations, while hundreds have been killed on busy roads as the highway network has rapidly expanded.

    Two Elephants (Elephas maximus) were killed in the space of three months earlier this year after being hit by vehicles on the same stretch of highway in northern Malaysia.

    Sun Bears are the smallest of the bear species, and are classified as vulnerable by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Tapirs are known for their long, drooping noses which they use to forage for leaves, with the variety in Malaysia listed as endangered.

    Source: AFP, via Yahoo! News

Malaysia: As endangered fauna fall victim to motorists, minister moves to call cross-ministry meeting
By May Robertson, 28th December 2017;

After yet more deaths, Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has mooted a cross-ministry meeting to address the increasing number of roadkill cases involving threatened species.

In response two heart-breaking incidents on Christmas Eve that saw motorists killing a Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) and a Tapir (Tapirus indicus) — both on the east coast, Wan Junaidi said a collaboration involving the different ministries such as the Transport Ministry, could help address the issue once and for all.

“I will call for a meeting early next year, perhaps in January or February,” he told Malay Mail when contacted this week.

“People are responsible for these killings and they must be held accountable,” he added.

Wan Junaidi said he would also call for a meeting with the various road authorities, including the police and the Road Transport Department.

The minister stressed that drivers who disregard wildlife crossing sign boards should be heavily fined, as they risk killing an endangered or protected animal.

“There are 236 signboards up in 113 hotspots in the country to alert drivers of wildlife crossings, but it is never taken seriously, even if the animal was not endangered or protected drivers must be cautious,” he said.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, another 202 signboards will be placed in other hotspots nationwide.

“Right now there is no law compelling drivers to abide by these laws, but to have this be taken seriously some drastic measures must be put in place.

"Soon enough irresponsible drivers will pay for the harm they cause to nature, but the enforcement of such a law must be strict and that’s why there must firstly be a meeting to highlight the different challenges,” Wan Junaidi added.

He also said it was difficult for the ministry to fork out RM70 million for the construction of each viaduct or wildlife crossing.

“It is expensive, we do not have such funds just lying around, furthermore we must remember that we are dealing with wild animals,” he said.

“We cannot force an animal to use a crossing or viaduct, they will go where they want, we need the cooperation of various parties like highway concessionaires.”

He added that through meetings with the East Coast Rail Line project handlers, the route was redesigned to affect less wildlife habitats and that such discussion should be replicated for all projects involving the environment.

“The ministry had meetings with them last year to address the concerns of cutting through some 2000 hectares of forest,” he said.

“Eventually, the NRE was consulted and we managed to save 90 per cent of the forest from the initial route, the new route affects 200 hectares instead.”

On Sunday, a 100-kg Malayan Tapir — an endangered species — was killed by a Proton Saga that hit it at KM12 of the Gua Musang-Kuala Krai trunk road in Kelantan, before it was skinned and its snout cut off.

Later that same day, an adult Malayan Sun Bear — deemed vulnerable — was killed after it was hit by a motorcycle at Km347.5 of the East Coast Expressway 2 near the Kuala Dungun interchange in Terengganu.

Source: Malay Mail

Take Action Now or Risk Losing our Iconic Wildlife

Take action now or risk losing our iconic wildlife
27th December 2017;

As WWF-Malaysia looks back at 2017, we are extremely saddened at the number of fatal incidents involving iconic and endangered species; including the most recent deaths of two Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus) and a Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus) on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2017).

In Peninsular Malaysia, a Sun Bear was killed in an accident along the East Coast Expressway 2 in Terengganu, while a Malayan Tapir was killed in another accident in Gua Musang, Kelantan. The tapir was also skinned and disfigured by a group of men who discovered the carcass the following day. We strongly condemn acts of wildlife crime such as this, where the carcass of an animal is mutilated without consideration.

It is also imperative to bear in mind that highways close to natural wildlife habitats are at high risk of accidents, and therefore, a higher rate of wildlife deaths, if precautions are not taken. We cannot emphasise enough the need for Malaysian drivers to be more vigilant and alert while driving in areas that are prone to wildlife crossings, to avoid more unfortunate incidents like these from happening.

In a separate incident in East Malaysia, another Sun Bear was discovered being sold in parts at a local market in Kuching. WWF-Malaysia urges the public once again to step away from consuming wild meat, particularly during festive celebrations, in an effort to preserve our unique wildlife. This act of responsible consumption will go a long way in protecting wild species such as the Sun Bear.

As an organisation dedicated to the conservation of biological diversity, a huge amount of our time is committed to empowering and encouraging positive change in the way we protect our planet – wildlife included. Despite all efforts from various organisations and government bodies, yet again, we as a nation, have failed to stand up for our Malaysian wildlife. If we do not take drastic measures to protect our wildlife now, we may lose them to extinction in the near future.

Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma
Executive Director/CEO, WWF-Malaysia

Source: WWF-Malaysia

Take Action Now or Risk Losing our Iconic Wildlife