Photos of the Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that died after being stranded on the coast of Ujung Kreung, Aceh.

Source: WWF Indonesia Facebook

Malaysia: Have strict protection of our forest corridors — WWF-Malaysia

7th February 2016;

WWF-Malaysia is saddened by the loss of another Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), the latest being a victim of a vehicle collision along the East Coast Expressway in Terengganu (“Malayan Tiger killed crossing East Coast Expressway,” The Star, February 6, 2016).

Tragically, this healthy female Tiger was later discovered to be pregnant with two cubs (“Malayan Tiger killed on East Coast Highway was pregnant,” The Star, February 6, 2016). Including these young casualties, this has brought the number of dead Tigers to five within the past three weeks alone — an unprecedented number within such a short time frame.

However, these are just the cases which have been recorded, as undoubtedly many more cases of Tiger poaching remains undetected. Unfortunately, the demise of even a single individual is a huge blow to the Tiger population, especially with recent evidence suggesting Malaysia only has about 250-340 Tigers left in the wild.

As the nation progresses towards being developed, the pressure on our natural resources particularly our forest will undoubtedly escalate with more infrastructure such as roads being built or expanded.

The construction of roads, particularly highways, has fragmented major forest complexes in Malaysia and has likely disrupted behavioural patterns and habitat use by large mammals, for example the elimination of Tigers on the western portion of the North-South highway.

Fragmentation caused by roads impedes movements and negatively affects wildlife through vehicular mortality. Unfortunately, mitigation measures using a science-based assessment to counter hindered permeability of Tigers and other wildlife between habitats fragmented by roads are lacking in Malaysia.

Recognising this gap, WWF-Malaysia carried out intensive wildlife habitat use surveys to be able to provide science-based criteria in recommending potential locations for wildlife crossings in Belum-Temengor forest complex in Perak.

This was able to aid the authorities in choosing where a viaduct should be placed in the area to facilitate movement of wildlife between forest patches. This was in fact the first study to identify Tiger crossings and core habitat corridors for mitigating the negative effects of a highway in Malaysia.

Malaysia already has the Central Forest Spine Masterplan for Ecological Linkages, a federal document which identifies 37 important forested linkages throughout Peninsular Malaysia and outlines measures to conserve/enhance their functionality.

However, since land is a state matter, there are varying degrees of success. Within WWF-Malaysia’s priority landscape of Belum-Temengor, various conservation initiatives by the government have been carried out within the corridor that flanks the East-West Highway — most prominently the gazettement of this area as a Permanent Reserved Forest and the construction of a viaduct for wildlife crossings.

Other corridors are not so fortunate, with some being lost completely due to development or the establishment of plantations. However, in some cases it is not too late to act.

If certain corridors are no longer suitable for wildlife crossings, alternative linkages should be identified and conserved for the long-term benefit of wildlife and our forests, which we ultimately depend on for water resources, fresh air and other ecosystem services such as flood prevention.

WWF-Malaysia calls for all relevant state governments to adhere to the Central Forest Spine Masterplan for Ecological Linkages. This includes implementing conservation measures along critical corridors such as providing legal protection for natural forests, and the construction of green infrastructure such as viaducts and elevated highways.

Enhancing linkages through the establishment of green infrastructure such as viaducts especially through robust science-based assessments will help Tigers and other wildlife safely cross roads, which will in turn aid their long term survival within the landscape.

Other measures such as warning signages and speed breakers at strategic locations will also help reduce the number of collisions between vehicles and wildlife. In the meantime, WWF-Malaysia advises motorists to adhere to the speed limits and be cautious of the surroundings when driving along roads flanked by forests.

Source: Malay Mail

Malaysia: Have strict protection of our forest corridors — WWF-Malaysia

Malaysia: WWF-Malaysia is saddened by sawfish caught off Pulau Bruit

26th June 2014;

World Wide Fund for Nature – Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) is saddened by the 300kg Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) caught off Pulau Bruit, stating that the sawfish is a critically endangered species in the world.

In June 2007, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has approved trade restrictions for Sawfish because trade along with fishing pressure and habitat destruction were pushing them towards extinction.

The IUCN approved all seven Sawfish species in Appendix I banning all international commercial trade except for one species found in Australia, which was included in Appendix II (but only to allow trade in live animals to public aquaria for conservation purposes only).

Also known as carpenter sharks, Sawfish are large rays related to sharks, with distinctive toothed snouts. They are often traded for their fins, meat, unique toothed rostra (snouts), and as live animals for exhibition.

Their distinctive saw-like snouts are sold as souvenirs, curios, and ceremonial weapons, while other body parts such as skin, liver oil and bile are used in traditional medicines.

Little is still known about Sawfish, with population facts and figures being scarce, and there are very few sightings. [Source: Conservation Bite for Sawfish]

Global populations of every species of Sawfish are estimated to have fallen to less than 10% of their historic levels.

Just earlier this month, IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group (SSG) has released a global strategy to prevent extinction and promote recovery of Sawfishes.

To compliment the existing ban on commercial international sawfish trade, the strategy calls for national and regional actions to prohibit intentional killing of Sawfish, minimize mortality of accidental catches, protect sawfish habitats, and ensure effective enforcement of such safeguards.

The document also lays out actions associated with effective communications, capacity building, strategic research, and responsible husbandry, as well as fundraising to ensure implementation.
Source: Endangered Sawfish: IUCN Strategy Released as Global Protection Proposed].

The incident in Pulau Bruit, which WWF-Malaysia believes was unintentional, could have been avoided if fishermen are aware that the species is listed in the IUCN Red List, said conservation director Dr Sundari Ramakrishna.

However, she said, fishermen cannot continue to plea innocent all the time.

“They need to play their part in conservation by making it their business to fish sustainably, to know which species are common and rare, and make responsible choices by releasing live catch back into the sea.”

“WWF-Malaysia hoped that the incident in Pulau Bruit would serve as a lesson to all and moved the people from all walks of life to be more discerning when making their purchases for seafood,” she said.

When public are better informed and understand the impacts of our seafood choices, they will help shift our fisheries towards a more sustainable direction, added Dr Sundari.

The public can check out the status of fish species through WWF’s SOS Guide (Save Our Seafood) which aims at helping consumers make ocean-friendly decisions when it comes to their seafood.

The guide informs them which seafood is recommended, which to think twice about and which ones to avoid.

The guide is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin and can be downloaded from www.saveourseafood.my.

Source: WWF-Malaysia

Malaysia: WWF-Malaysia is saddened by sawfish caught off Pulau Bruit