Malaysia: Two Dolphins found dead in less than a week

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Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

5th January 2017;

A dead Dolphin was washed ashore in Tanjung Bungah, the second within six days.

Environmental activist Andrew Ng Yew Han said the first Dolphin, which was decomposing, was spotted last Friday at the same stretch of beach behind a hotel in Tanjung Bungah while another was found yesterday.

“I’ve asked the fishermen and residents’ association to let me know if there are more sightings of dead Turtles or Dolphins, and I alerted the authorities over the years whenever there are such sightings.

“This is to create more awareness and pressure the authorities to investigate such matters as it is vital to find out their cause of death,” he said.

Senior lecturer Dr Leela Rajamani from the Centre for Marine and Coastal studies of Universiti Sains Ma­­laysia, confirmed that the de­­com­­posing Dolphin was that of an Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis).

She said the humpback species was among the four main species in Penang.

“We see them going around the island and they are commonly sighted in a big group heading north, west and south of the island.

“A post-mortem is needed to identify their cause of death.

“We are looking for funding. A proper lab is needed to do a post-mortem,” she said.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Female Elephant found electrocuted

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Tragedy along highway: Perhilitan rangers checking the scene where the carcass of the female Elephant was found near Tasik Banding in Gerik.

3rd January 2018;

In another blow to Malaysian wildlife, a two-tonne Elephant (Elephas maximus) has been found dead – this time, electrocuted by a live wire from roadworks.

The female pachyderm was believed to be rummaging for food when it was electrocuted after destroying a cabin set up by contractors carrying out roadworks near Tasik Banding in Gerik.

The 40-year-old Elephant might have been pregnant or recently gi­­ven birth as it was producing milk.

Perak Wildlife and National Parks principal assistant director Wan Shaharuddin Wan Nordin said the Elephant was found dead at about 7.30am yesterday although it could have been electrocuted much earlier.

“When we reached the site, we found the animal was already dead.

“We immediately alerted Tenaga Nasional Bhd to disconnect the supply,” he said, adding that no criminal element was found in the case.

The deaths of a Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) and a Tapir (Tapirus indicus) due to road accidents on Christmas Eve have alarmed conservationists. The carcass of the tapir was later skinned by a group of men.

Last year, a calf and a 10-year-old Elephant were killed by vehicles along the Gerik-Jeli Highway.

The Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants, which has been tracking the herd the female Elephant belonged to, said the animal might either be pregnant or had just given birth.

“We are not sure about this at the moment but there was milk coming out from its breasts,” said its field manager Alicia Solana.

“It is very common for them to roam around this area beside the highway as there is plenty of grass and suitable food.”

Solana said it was believed that the Elephant was electrocuted after pushing against the zinc wall of the cabin.

“It is a big loss emotionally for this herd as we see them very often,” she said.

Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia co-founder and CEO Andrew Sebastian said contractors should have been more alert and careful when setting up cabins in areas with wildlife.

“There are plenty of signboards along the Royal Belum-Temenggor and East-West Highway warning motorists and the public about the presence of Elephants,” Sebastian said.

The Star

Malaysia: Female Elephant electrocuted in Gerik

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The Elephant was electrocuted after pushing against the zinc wall of a temporary house in Gerik.
Source: Malaysian Response Team Facebook

2nd January 2018;

A female Elephant (Elephas maximus) died in Gerik, Perak after it was believed to have been electrocuted by a live wire.

The Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) said that the Elephant was estimated to be about 40 years old.

Its field manager Alicia Solana said that there is a possibility that the Elephant was either pregnant or had just given birth.

“We are not sure about this at the moment, but there was milk coming out from its breasts,” she told the Star Online on Tuesday.

The incident occurred close to the Seri Banding army camp in Gerik on Monday night.

She added that the Elephant was most likely part of a group of other females and babies looking for food.

“It is very common for them to roam around this area beside the highway as there is plenty of grass and suitable food for them,” she said.

Solana said it was believed that the Elephant was electrocuted after pushing against the zinc wall of a temporary house built in the area, which is located next to the highway.

There was no one around at the time of the incident, added Solana.

“It is a big loss emotionally as we knew this group and could identify them. We saw them very often,” she said.

Source: The Star

  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).

Photos: Malaysian Response Team and Ediey King

Malaysia: Black day for animal lovers in Malaysia
By Mei Mei Chu, 25th December 2017;

Christmas Eve was a black day for Malaysian wildlife as three separate cases involving the gruesome deaths of two endangered Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus) and a Tapir (Tapirus indicus) went viral on social media.

In Kuching, a villager shopping at a local market got a rude shock when she saw a Sun Bear slaughtered into pieces and sold openly as exotic meat.

In the photo taken at the Lubok Antu ‘pasar tamu’ in Sri Aman Division, the adult male Sun Bear was butchered into over 15 pieces and placed on a table next to a weighing machine.

The head was decapitated below the chin while the arms were cut off at the forearm to keep the paws intact.

The meat and other body parts were sold for RM20 per kilo while the head was sold for RM35 per kilo.

“It is really shocking to see the whole Bear cut into pieces,” Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder Wong Siew Te told The Star.

“In the same market, a Wild Boar (Possibly Bearded Pig) Sus barbatus) and Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor) were being sold as well,” he said, adding that the villager alerted him of the incident and sent him the photos.

According to Wong, poaching is rife but it is uncommon to see Sun Bears being sold openly in the local markets.

“For us, the festive seasons mean happiness and fun with family but for the many unfortunate wildlife, it means the end of their life when the demand for exotic meat soars,” he said.

Sun Bears are a protected species under the Sarawak Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 and those found guilty of hunting and selling the wildlife could face a RM10,000 fine or one year imprisonment.

Wong said the population of Sun Bears is unknown but conservationists are certain that it is declining due to rapid deforestation and rampant poaching.

He urged the Forestry Department to enforce the wildlife protection law and prosecute those involved in the illegal exotic meat trade.

“If we don’t do anything effective soon it will be too late to do anything, just like the Rhinos (Sumatran Rhinoceros) (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis) here,” he said, adding that the extinction of sun Bears will hurt the forest ecosystem.

In Terengganu, a Sun Bear was killed after a motorbike crashed into it near the Kuala Dungun exit on the East Coast Expressway 2 (LPT 2) at 6.50pm on Sunday (Dec 24).

The motorcyclist was en route from Kuantan to Terengganu when the Sun Bear suddenly crossed the road.

In Gua Musang, Kelantan a 100kg Tapir was killed in a car accident involving a Proton Saga at KM12 at Jalan Gua Musang-Kuala Krai.

The accident happened at 4am on Dec 24 but a group of men who found the Tapir carcass the next day skinned the animal and cut off its snout.

Netizens have expressed shock and disgust of photos of the men skinning the wildlife, calling their actions cruel.

Source: The Star

Terrible find: A Sabah Ranger standing beside the decomposed carcass of Liningkung at the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve on Sabah’s east coast
Photo:

Malaysia: Yet another endangered Borneo pygmy jumbo found dead in Sabah
14th December 2017;

Another critically endangered Borneo Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) has been found dead even as conservationists call for informants and professional investigators to be engaged to stop the killing.

The Elephant, the ninth slain in the last 14 months, was a healthy 12-year-old bull named Liningkung, that was fitted with a satellite collar 18 months ago.

It was found in the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve on Sabah’s east coast on Tuesday.

Rangers discovered its decomposed carcass with the tusks untouched.

“I believe it was shot by poachers but escaped before eventually dying from its wounds,” Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) director Benoit Goossens said.

Liningkung’s movements were being monitored by DGFC on a weekly basis, Goossens said, and they alerted Sabah Forestry officials on Dec 11 to say that it had not moved since Dec 3.

A team is in the area to carry out a post-mortem.

"It is another sad day for Elephant conservation. If this goes on, we might be staring at its extinction,” Goossens said.

There are only about 1,500 Elephants left in Sabah’s forests.

This is the third elephant found dead in the same area in the past year.

Goossens said it is vital for a special wildlife enforcement unit to be set up to go after wildlife poachers and traders as suggested by chief conservator of forests Datuk Sam Mannan.

Meanwhile, Marc Acrenaz, scientific director for Sabah-based wildlife research and conservation NGO Hutan, said informers and professional investigators are needed to stop the killing.

“Many years ago, locals killed these animals for food and it was not too serious.

"Now, we see that things have changed and people are poaching for the international trade or killing them because of animal-human conflicts,” he said.

No suspects have been identified in many of these cases, including a recent incident where a bull Elephant was shot in the mouth and died of dehydration because it could not eat or drink.

“The authorities lack people on the ground,” Acrenaz said.

“We need a strong team which can identify the culprits and bring them to justice,” he said, adding that the killings might stop then.

For now, Acrenaz said, there are not enough rangers to cover all the places where animals – especially endangered species like the Pygmy Elephants, Orang Utan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Pangolins (Manis javaica) – roam.

He said the three main reasons for poaching and killing were conflicts between landowners and animals (especially Elephants), poaching of bush meat because of demand by tourists, and the international underground trade in exotic meat and animal parts like ivory and Pangolin scales.

Source: The Star

Photo: Sabah Wildlife Department, via New Straits Times

Malaysia: Borneo Pygmy Elephant dies due to dehydration after being shot
8th December 2017;

An endangered Borneo Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) has died from dehydration triggered by gunshot wounds.

Veterinarians and wildlife rangers could only watch helplessly as the gentle jumbo died due to injuries on his tongue and mouth.

“It could not eat or drink as we tried to provide treatment at the Borneo Wildlife Sanctuary,” said Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga in a statement late Friday (Dec 8).

He said the seven-year-old bull Elephant died on Dec 6, more than a week after it was rescued from the Desa Plantation near Telupid, some 210km from here.

Tuuga said they had received reports from villagers and estate workers about an injured Elephant that was running amok.

He said villagers said the Elephant was charging at people that were in its path.

“It was then captured on Nov 24 for relocation,” he said.

Tuuga said the Elephant was then taken to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary for treatment.

While undergoing medical examination and treatment, its tongue was found to have serious wounds, believed to have been caused by gunshots.

“We are not sure whether this Elephant was shot by poachers or villagers,” Tuuga said.

A post-mortem found a bullet lodged in the Elephant’s front left leg, as well as other signs of gunshots on the body.

“However, the wounds on the body were only external,” Tuuga said.

He urged villagers and estate owners as well as workers to inform wildlife rangers if they come across Elephants on their land instead of handling the matter on their own.

Source: The Star

Pak Atan (right) and his family members could not hold back their tears as they held the dead body of Si Tenang, the baby dugong, back in 1999.

Malaysia: Si Tenang, the little Dugong that stole our hearts
By Andrew Sia, 24th June 2017;

The case of Si Tenang the baby Dugong (Dugong dugon) captured national attention in 1999.

Atan Hussin (Pak Atan), a fisherman in southern Johor, had accidentally caught a baby Dugong in his net. Finding that it had been bruised, he decided to take care of it at his kelong (a floating raft house with nets). He and his family grew fonder of this baby marine mammal and named it Si Tenang.

However, within two weeks, the authorities asked him to release the Dugong into the wild. Pak Atan did so, but he kept looking out for Si Tenang, hoping that it would come back to visit him.

But within 48 hours, he was heartbroken when Si Tenang was found dead after it had been tangled up in other nets (Dugongs are mammals that need to regularly surface to breathe).

The public should know that Dugongs are facing many threats that may lead to their extinction, underlined Dr Leela Rajamani, a dugong specialist from Universiti Sains Malaysia.

In Johor, the main problems are rapid coastal development, accidental entanglement in nets, boat collisions, and destructive fishing methods (such as trawling and rawai longlines full of hooks). In Sabah, Leela said there is the added problem of fish bombing.

Seagrass specialist Dr Jillian Ooi of Universiti Malaya said the Dugong is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This means that certain Dugong populations are greatly reduced in size, hurt by human activities, and in danger of local extinction.

On April 21, a Dugong was found dead at Pulau Tinggi near Mersing.

“The Fisheries Department thinks it was probably caught in a longline or rawai because there were hook scars on it,” said Ooi.

Rawai are floating death traps which can stretch for hundreds of metres and have up to 2,000 hooks.

“This type of fishing gear needs to be prohibited because they are so dangerous to marine life. The worst damage occurs when the longline breaks off and floats around in the sea, cruelly hooking anything that lies in its path, including Turtles, Sharks and Dugongs.”

Leela explained that Dugong conservation in Malaysia took off after the Si Tenang incident.

“The Government allocated funds for research on these creatures and on seagrass. Expertise development was also one of the priorities. I benefited from this with an ample research grant and PhD scholarship. The Department of Fisheries has also drafted a Dugong management plan.”

But she noted that much more needs to be done. For starters, more research is needed on seagrass, since this is the main source of food for Dugongs.

“Seagrass has not been properly mapped out except in small areas of Sabah and the eastern islands of Johor. So there is a lack of information for a proper Dugong conservation plan.”

She added that issues remain with the enforcement of existing legislation, for instance, not allowing trawlers to come closer than five nautical miles to marine parks.

“Dugongs are a charismatic, flagship species. They act as an umbrella species to conserve other species in the habitat where they live.”

She stressed the need for education programmes about Dugongs targeted at different audiences such as corporations, rural people (who live close to Dugongs) and city folk.

“I hope that more Malaysians will develop a sense of pride and compassion towards these gentle creatures.”

Source: Star2.com