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

Environmental activists in Indonesia tred to refloat nine beached Sperm Whales but four of them died

Indonesia: Four Sperm Whales die in Indonesia beach rescue
14th November 2017;

Four Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded on a beach in Indonesia have died, a local official said Tuesday, despite frantic efforts to save the massive mammals.

The Whales were among a pod of 10 spotted by locals stranded along Ujong Krueng beach in Aceh province Monday, with one seen farther out in the water.

Rescuers tried to push the nine beached Whales back out to sea as hundreds of curious locals looked on, some snapping pictures.

Five were pushed back and survived but four died, some with their mouth agape as small waves crashed over their giant bodies.

Rescuers tied ropes to the tails of some of the mammals to pull them to deeper water.

“We had problems evacuating them due to a lack of experience and equipment,” Aceh nature conservation agency head Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

“But this is a good lesson for us because Aceh is a crossing point for marine mammals so in the future we should be prepared to deal with situations like this.”

An official autopsy will be conducted on the Whales to determine the cause of death, but Prabowo said the giant gray creatures may have followed their leader to shore or lost their way.

“Usually, Sperm Whales will avoid going into deep water if they’re sick. Two of them were sick. So, we assume the leaders were sick and the others automatically followed them to the beach,” Prabowo said.

One Whale had wounds that suggested it had been injured by a coral reef, he said, adding that the four dead will be buried close to the beach.

This is the second time in the last few years that Sperm Whales have been found beached in northernmost Sumatra island, with one found dead on a beach in Banda Aceh in 2016.

Also last year, eight Pilot Whales died after a mass stranding on the coast of Indonesia’s main island of Java.

They were among a group of more than two dozen Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) that had come ashore during high tide.

Source: AFP, on Yahoo! News

Indonesian environmental activists, military and police personnel and villagers try to help a group of Short-finned Pilot Whales stranded during a high tide in Probolinggo, East Java province on June 16, 2016
Photo: AFP Photo/Juni Kriswanto

Indonesia: Dozens of Pilot Whales stranded in Indonesia, eight dead
16th June 2016;

Eight Pilot Whales have died after a mass stranding on the coast of Indonesia’s main island of Java that sparked a major rescue operation, an official said Thursday.

Thirty-two of the Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) came ashore during high tide early Wednesday in Probolinggo, East Java province.

“At first there were just one or two Whales swimming near the shore, and the nature of whales is that if they are sick they will come near the shore,” Dedy Isfandi, the head of the local maritime and fisheries office, told AFP.

“But Whales have such high social interaction – when one fell ill, they approach the sick one to swim back to sea… when the tide fell all of them were trapped,” Isfandi added.

Hundreds of local fishermen and government officials tried to take them back out to sea overnight, but in the morning eight Whales had returned to shore and died, Isfandi said.

About 23 others were already out at sea while one disoriented Whale was accompanied by some rescuers to make sure it did not return to shore.

Rescuers used tarps to wrap around the beached sea mammals and pull them out to sea while swimmers plunged into the water to drive others out of the area.

Vets and scientists conducted autopsies on the dead Whales to find out why they were stranded, but fishery officials said it could be due to turbulent waters in the Indian Ocean or they had eaten something poisonous.

Over the last decade or so, Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) and Orcas (Orcinus orca) were also found stranded in the area, Isfandi said.

Conservation group International Union for Conservation of Nature said there was insufficient data to classify the risk of extinction of Short-finned Pilot Whales, which are found in warm temperate to tropical waters.

Source: AFP, on Yahoo! News

Photos: AFP/Aceh Province Forest Protection Agency, from Metro TV News

Indonesia: 2 Sumatran elephants found dead in Indonesia’s Aceh province
By Fakhrurradzie Gade, 15th October 2015;

Two endangered Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) were found dead in Indonesia’s Aceh province and were believed to have been poisoned, an environment official said Thursday.

Locals found the carcasses in a forest about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from their village in Aceh’s Jaya district, said Genman Suhefti Hasibuan, head of the local Conservation and Natural Resources Agency.

The two females, 2 years and 15 years of age, were estimated to have died two or three days before they were found on Wednesday, Hasibuan said. He added that there were no indications of violence or gunshot wounds on the carcasses.

“Hopefully, there will be no more elephants found dead like these in the future,” Hasibuan said, adding that the agency will investigate the deaths in cooperation with the police.

At least five Sumatran Elephants have been found dead this year in Aceh, after 11 deaths last year.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the animals as “Critically Endangered” after their numbers dropped to between 2,400 and 2,800 from an estimated 5,000 in 1985. Environmentalists say the elephants could be extinct within three decades unless they are protected.

Sumatran Elephants sometimes look for food in populated areas because development has destroyed their habitat. Some of the animals killed were shot or poisoned with cyanide-laced fruit. Others have been killed by poachers for their ivory.

In February, police arrested eight members of a poaching syndicate and confiscated tusks worth more than $30,000 in Riau province. The group admitted to have killed at least six elephants in neighboring Riau and Jambi provinces.

Source: Yahoo! News

Yongki was found dead close to the camp where he lived in a national park on the western island of Sumatra. Photo: AFP

Indonesia: Killing of endangered Sumatran Elephant sparks anger
By AFP, 21st September 2015;

A critically endangered Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) who had patrolled Indonesia’s jungles to help protect threatened habitats has been killed for his tusks, an official said Monday, sparking a surge of anger online.

Yongki, a tame creature who worked with teams of elephant keepers, was found dead close to the camp where he lived in a national park on the western island of Sumatra, said park official Timbul Batubara.

His one-metre (three-foot) tusks had been hacked off, leaving just bloody stumps, and his legs still bore the chains put on him by his keepers to ensure he stayed in the camp.

There are estimated to be less than 3,000 Sumatran Elephants remaining in the wild. They are frequently targeted by poachers for their tusks, which fetch a high price for use in Chinese traditional medicine.

Batubara, from the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, said it was not yet known how Yongki was killed.

His body, which was found Friday, bore no bullet wounds but he had a blue tongue. Elephants have in the past been poisoned.

Yongki, aged about 35, was well-known among the local “mahouts” or elephant keepers. Nazaruddin, the head of the Indonesian Mahout Forum, said keepers in the area were “very shaken”.

“We are mourning the lost of an Elephant who has been helping us in handling conflicts and helping forest rangers patrol the forest, and he was a good elephant,” Nazaruddin, who goes by one name, told AFP.

The Elephant was involved in patrols aimed at reducing tensions, with the tame elephants stopping wild Elephants from rampaging through villages. The patrols also help rangers keep a lookout for illegal logging and poaching that threaten Indonesia’s vast rain forests.

There was anger on social media after pictures of the Elephant’s body circulated, with users posting comments on Twitter next to the hashtag #RIPYongki.

“It is time we enforce life sentences for hunters of legally protected animals,” said Facebook user Aprilia Putri.

Protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran Elephant as critically endangered. It is one of many species that are under threat in Indonesia.

Source: Yahoo! News

Philippines: Endangered Philippine Eagle shot dead three years after rescue

19th August 2015;

A rare giant Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) has been shot dead two months after being released back into the wild following treatment for another shooting, in a blow to efforts to save the species from extinction, conservationists said Wednesday.

The raptor’s remains were found on a forest floor last weekend with a gunshot wound on its right breast, three years after it was rescued and treated, the Philippine Eagle Foundation said.

It was the 30th to be found dead or wounded out of an estimated population of just 400 pairs in the wild, which reside mainly on the large southern island of Mindanao, its executive director Joseph Salvador said.

“Unfortunately, one person with a gun thinks he can shoot anything,” Salvador told AFP, adding no one has been arrested in the latest incident.

“The potential to teach people the importance of the Eagles to wildlife and biodiversity has been compromised.”

Famed for its elongated nape feathers that form into a shaggy crest, the Philippine Eagle, one of the world’s largest, grows up to a metre (3.3 feet) long with a two-metre wingspan.

The Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists the species as “Critically Endangered”, due to the depletion of its tropical rainforest habitat and hunting.

Philippine Eagles kill Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and other smaller animals for food and need vast tracts of forest as hunting grounds, routinely driving away rivals from their territory.

Gunshots accounted for nine out of every 10 Philippine Eagle casualties recorded by the foundation over seven years.

The latest bird to be killed had been rescued as a juvenile three years ago and treated for superficial gunshot wounds.

Returned to the wild in Mindanao’s Mount Hamiguitan reserve two months ago, the Eagle’s carcass was tracked about a kilometre (half a mile) away from where it was released, after a fitted radio transmitter indicated the bird had stopped moving.

Killing critically endangered Philippine species is punishable by up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to one million pesos ($21,600). Salvador said the foundation would press charges once the Eagle’s killer was found.

Guarding the bird, also called the “Monkey-eating Eagle”, is compounded by inadequate forest rangers, with just six assigned to the vast Hamiguitan range, Salvador said.

Source: Yahoo! News

Philippines: Endangered Philippine Eagle shot dead three years after rescue