Malaysia: Mystery surrounds Dolphin carcasses found on Penang beach

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Photo: Jeya Shah Facebook

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Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

By Melissa Darlyne Chow, 5th January 2018;

Residents have been left puzzled after two Dolphin carcasses were washed ashore on a beach in Tanjung Bungah here within a week.

Sonya Shah said the first carcass was found on Dec 29, while the second was found two days ago.

While both Dolphins have since been buried at the beach, Sonya, who lives nearby, expressed her disappointment with the way the situations were handled.

“My mother and I struggled to get help as we called several fisheries, marine rescue teams and wildlife sanctuaries based in Penang and each of them passed the job onto someone else.

“Every one of them gave us different phone numbers to call and their reason for not attending to the incident was that it was ‘not their job’. They even advised us to call SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),” she said in a Facebook post, adding that it took several hours until a small group of people came to help.

Sonya said she had expected the Dolphins to be taken to laboratories to be examined so that their cause of death could be determined and future deaths could be prevented.

“Evidently, these deaths must have been unnatural and I am no marine biologist but I know that this could have been avoided. Whether they had been poisoned, gotten lost, suffocated, or caught a disease.

“We could have helped and it didn’t need to result in death. They are just as worthy of living as we are,” she said.

Sonya also lamented the actions of beachgoers who had a total disregard and lack of respect for the carcasses.

“People were actually throwing shingles, pebbles and shells at the carcass and when asked not to fiddle with the body, they responded with anger, hostility and impudence,” she said.

Meanwhile, activist Andrew Ng said they had contacted the Fisheries Department concerning the carcasses.

“I personally think that they didn’t do a thorough job. They just measured and buried the body.

“They didn’t determine the cause of death or take any samples from the dolphin for testing,” he told FMT.

Ng said he sent photographs of the carcasses to the Langkawi Dolphin Research Centre, which provided information on the species of the Dolphins.

“The centre said that it is an Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), a near threatened species under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list,” he added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Orang Asli kids kill Tiger
Malaysian Nature Society President Henry Goh said the incident took place last week in Pahang
13th October 2016;

Pictures of two Orang Asli children killing a Tiger have gone viral on social media.

Following that, a wildlife watchdog is appealing to Malaysians to come forward to identify the people behind the killing.

Malaysian Nature Society President Henry Goh said the incident took place last week in Pahang.

“The Tiger was killed with a snare, usually used by the Orang Asli. They will wait for the Tiger to walk into the sharp snare that kills the animal,” he told FMT.

Goh posted the pictures of the incident on his Facebook page today, urging people with knowledge on the incident to contact the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) at 1 300 801 010 or call MNS at 019 3564194.

He said MNS was saddened by the incident as it came at a time when there were only about 250 to 300 Tigers left in Malaysia.

The figures were obtained through footprints in the thick rainforest in Belum Forest in Pahang and Endau Rompin Rainforest in Johor.

He said poachers continue to use Orang Asli to kill wildlife in Malaysia.

“The poachers will give a bit of money to Orang Asli to kill the animals.

"In return, they make thousands in US dollars by selling the skins and other organs on the underground international market.”

MNS, he said, is hoping to preserve Tigers, which are a national symbol.

“We should protect it,” he said.

Between 2010 and 2013, more than 2,241 poachers’ traps and 1,728 illegal camp sites were discovered by NGOs conducting research in Peninsular Malaysia’s forests.

The Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 imposes a maximum penalty of a five-year jail term and a RM15,000 fine on offenders.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Dead Dolphin washes ashore at Tanjung Bungah beach

By Predeep Nambiar, 7th May 2016;

The carcass of what appeared to be a Dolphin (F. Delphinidae) washed up on Tanjung Bungah beach today.

A city council cleaner at work near the beach at Medan Tanjung Bungah found the dead Dolphin at about 1pm.

A group of restaurant workers on a family day outing helped to move the carcass and bury it.

Mohamad Khairi Haron, 49, said the Dolphin measured about 1.5m in length. It appeared to have suffered from a wound on its back.

“It was starting to rot and the smell was unbearable. My workers and I dug a hole by the beach and buried it,” said Mohd Khairi, who operates Markaz Nasi Kandar Restaurant in Bukit Mertajam.

Khairi and 30 of his workers were carrying out a team building exercise on the beach at that time.

One of the workers, Iqram Jamil, 23, said he had been coming to the beach over the past 10 years and had never seen anything like this.

The Penang Fisheries Department has been alerted about the find.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Dead Dolphin washes ashore at Tanjung Bungah beach

Malaysia: Malayan Nature Society takes authorities to task for Tiger road death
Malaysian Nature Society calls for highway planners to take safety of wildlife into account
6th February 2016;

The Malaysian Nature Society has taken highway planners to task after an adult Tiger was killed in a road accident while it was crossing the East Coast Highway II at 1am on Friday.

MNS president Henry Goh said the Tiger’s death should serve as a reminder that wildlife safety should be included in the master plan of a highway.

“Each time before a highway is built, due consideration should be given to ensure that the safety of wildlife is a part in the master plan,” he said in a statement.

Goh suggested that other agencies such as the Wildlife and Parks Department, Perhilitan, and conservation societies be involved in the planning stage of a highway.

He said the safety of other wildlife in the East Coast was also under threat as the LPT2 highway passes through forests.

“LPT2 cuts through the heartland of primary forests which are habitats to other animals such as the Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Civets (F. Viverridae) and many others.”

The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), found only in the Peninsula and southern Thailand, is Malaysia’s national symbol and is featured on the federation coat-of-arms.

However, the Tiger is listed as “critically endangered”, with only an estimated 250 breeding individuals alive, as a result of poaching and loss of habitat from logging, road construction, and conversion of forests to agriculture or commercial plantations.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Scores of fish such as keli, haruan and Tilapia found dead along Sungai Dondang.
26th June 2015;

The Penang Government has directed the island city council (MBPP) to take stern action, including revoking the licences, of a vegetarian food processing factory and a laundry shop for allegedly causing the death of fish in Sungai Dondang, Paya Terubong.

On Monday scores of fish such as keli (Catfish) (Siluriformes), haruan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata) and Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) were found dead along Sungai Dondang, a tributary of Sungai Pinang. The Department of Environment (DOE) has taken samples of the river water for tests and the results will be known in a week.

State executive councilor Chow Kon Yeow said investigations by DOE, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and MBPP revealed that the two errant parties caused the river pollution.

He assured the outlets would face the full brunt of the law, including possible closure and fine. “The city council has been directed to take stern action against the culprits, including revoking their licenses,” Chow told newsmen when visiting the site.

Present were DID director Anuar Yahya, northeast district engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran and DOE state director Norhayati Yahaya.

He expressed disappointment that such incidents took place despite various campaigns carried out to educate people against disposing toxic waste into rivers. The responsibility to keep rivers clean and pollution free was not only that of the authorities, but also the public, he added.

He felt sad that marine life had died and urged the public to take on the responsibility to ensure that rivers remained clean. Moreover, he said, the state received encouraging reports that the river water quality was improving.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Malaysia: Still no report on the Pygmy Elephants

By S M Mohd Idris, 26th 2014;

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is irked by the silence maintained by the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry (NREM), the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Sabah Police and the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) regarding the death of the 14 Borneo Elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis).

In Feb 2014 there were concerns over the missing female Elephant cows believed to have been poisoned when their calves were found wandering and rescued from two plantations in Kinabatangan. Until now there have been no reports.

SAM is perturbed that such unexplained deaths of suspected poisoning has remained unsolved until today. As both the NRE and the Sabah Wildlife are responsible for safeguarding the country’s wildlife, they should not protect those responsible for the killing while at the same time ignoring the rights of wildlife species.

The especially gruesome circumstances of their deaths and the recent mystifying disappearances of two Elephant cows in particular has sparked renewed calls from SAM for the release of the report of the investigation to be made public.

What is really needed is a competent investigation procedure to ensure those who commit crimes will be brought to book and it will serve as a deterrent. The whole enforcement chain must work together resulting in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop further poisoning and killing of these remarkable creatures that is unique and special.

NGOs and the public are craving for information and this expectation must be satisfied by the authorities responsible for the necessary action. The longer it lingers the credibility of the state’s authorities will continue to be challenged and viewed with suspicion over its feet dragging, silence and inaction. The authorities must not turn both a blind eye and deaf ear to any law-breaking by either the logging or palm oil industries and allow this heinous crime to go unpunished.

The Sabah government should probe further into the matter instead of hoping that the issue will be swept under the carpet for good. Are they not interested in knowing who the culprits are? It is in the interest of the public and NGOs that the case be resolved.

We have said it before and we will say it again. For those in authorities to continue with their lackadaisical attitude towards matters of life and death in the Elephants’ own domain is to continue to let more elephants die in vain.

The authorities should do more to address their weaknesses due to increasing public expectations for accountability. Is there an investigation team to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the Elephants’ death? Such crime must be addressed with the full force of the law.

SAM calls for justice and truth and the Sabah authorities should stop pandering to or legitimising such cruel killing practices as it only serves to encourage more plantation and logging companies to continue with such horrible killings due to greed by the corporate world

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Still no report on the Pygmy Elephants

The photographs of the dead sea turtles were posted on Facebook by a Fisheries Department staff.

Malaysia: More dead sea turtles off Semporna
By James Alin, 16th April 2014;

Yet another merciless killing of sea turtles has occurred, this time off Semporna. It was recorded by a staff of the Department of Fisheries who was on his way home yesterday.

He took pictures of four dead sea turtles floating between Bum Bum Island and Kulapuan island and posted it on his Facebook.

According a reliable source, the WWF-Malaysia Semporna team and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) are investigating the case.

But I am skeptical about the competency of Wildlife Department.

Meanwhile let me reveal my list of suspects.

i) Seaweed farmers. They top the list. The re-occurrence of conflict between sea turtle (known as Bokko to the islanders) and the seaweed farmers have been recorded since 1990s. The authorities are in denial about this group’s involvement. The conservation groups prefer to spread a romantic view that it’s a taboo for sea gypsies to harm these turtle. It’s also arguable the view that the Muslim islanders do not eat sea turtle meat and love sea turtle eggs.

Sea turtles are a pest to seaweed farming; they can destroy the entire seaweed farm overnight. The truth is, seaweed farmers are fed up complaining about the pest. If they can they will definitely take revenge by harming the animal.

ii) Artisanal fishermen. Sea turtles are known to forage amongst the coral reef and sea grass sections – two areas where artisanal fishing is likely to take place. Sea turtles caught in any type of fishing net will drown. When that happens, fishermen will usually dispose of the carcass, cut the net, tie the turtles and drag it away from their fishing ground. Who is there to find out when most fishing activities are done from midnight until early morning?

iii) Foreign registered fishing vessels. They are taking advantage of the richness of our sea and non-existent enforcement by SWD.

Some fishing vessels are poaching endangered, charismatic and migratory marine species like sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins and whale sharks.

The crews of these vessels are Vietnamese, Chinese or Indonesians. They are given license by the Federal Fisheries Department to do deep sea or long line fishing.

If they are caught encroaching into coastal areas or in possession of protected species, they too will dispose the evidence by throwing it to the sea.

The local owner of this Joint-Venture will declare that they did not authorize the illegal activities.

In which case what is the probability of SWD solving this case? Zero!

Poor take up

My skepticism of SWD’s ability is based on how the department has handled the case of 50 dead sea turtles in Pulau Tiga, Kudat.

A week after my report appeared on social media and online news portal, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment (MTCE) made a press statement denying my report.

He said, the enforcement agencies did not receive any reports from local people about the dead turtles.

Later on the Permanent Secretary for MTCE invited me to a special meeting attended by the enforcement agencies.

During the meeting, the Maritime Agency admitted they knew about the sea turtle killings in Pulau Tiga months before my field visit.

The Maritime officer showed us photos and announced their investigation was not conclusive (as no one got arrested).

The SWD official was not only late coming to the meeting but was also angry with me for not consulting his department before writing to the media.

Furthermore, he said that his department was far way from Kudat and his office did not have a speedboat to go the island.

Anyway, the next day SWD and Sabah Parks sent an investigative team to Pulau Tiga.

There is also another reason why I believe SWD will never solve the case of dead turtles in Semporna.

At the beginning of that meeting I showed slides of sea turtles kept alive inside a pen (fish cage) in Balambangan island.

I asked if any of the enforcement agencies were interested in arresting the owner. None of them showed any interest.

James Alin is a wildlife activist and senior lecturer in the School of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Source: FMT Borneo Plus