Listen to the Birds to Save Mangroves

Listen to the Birds to Save Mangroves

When birds disappear from back mangroves, the mangrove forest’s very survival could be at stake.

Produced by: Ashley Yeong, Amar-Singh HSS & SL Wong
Edited by: YH Law

Co-published with the Malaysian Bird Report

Published: June 14, 2024

(The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis is absent in many mangroves in Selangor | Photo by Amar-Singh HSS)

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Strolling Through Magical Matang Mangroves

Strolling Through Magical Matang Mangroves

A  walk in a thriving , healthy mangrove forest is full of splendour, diversity and birdsong.

Produced by: Ashley Yeong, Amar Singh HSS & SL Wong; Edited by: YH Law

Co-published with the Malaysian Bird Report

Published: June 14, 2024

(Boardwalk in the Pusat Eko-Pelajaran Hutan Paya Laut Matang, Kuala Sepetang, Perak  | Video by Ashley Yeong)

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Nurturing a Nature Revival

Nature is trendy again. Conservationist Surin Suksuwan takes a look at the journey of colonial-era ‘Nature Study’ to the present.

NOW, PERHAPS more than ever before, Nature is becoming a concern for all rather than just to a fringe group who are labelled as tree huggers.

Unfortunately, it has taken the combined crises of climate change and biodiversity loss for people to realise that the Earth is in trouble and we cannot go on with business as usual.

(Feature pic: Nature Study was once taught to primary and secondary schoolchildren. | All photos by Surin Suksuwan)

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Floods, Rising Seas Make Dumps More Dangerous

We already have a rubbish problem, but floods, sea-level rise and other climate crisis impacts make implementing solutions critical.

THE LANDFILL looms like a Titan, 27 meters into the sky, a stark symbol of Malaysians’ mounting waste problem. That is as tall as a 4-storey building. Its decaying mound emits a foul stench, all from the waste we generate.

This is the Jeram landfill in Selangor, which receives waste from 6 local councils in the Klang Valley. Within 10 minutes, 30 trucks unload their contents onto the ever-growing heap. Every day, 1,000 rubbish trucks dump on average, 3.7 million kilograms of waste into the landfill.

(Feature image: Scavengers like cattle egrets find sustenance in waste, but these heaps are getting more dangerous to animals and humans by the day. | Photo by Ashley Yeong)

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Green Pest Control Key to Sustainable Paddy Farming

Alternative pest control methods ensure the sustainability and yields of paddy farming in Tanjung Karang, finds student Chloe Holley.

PEST CONTROL is a critical part of agriculture because it can impact yield tremendously. But conventional insecticides can devastate the environment. In Tanjung Karang, Selangor, rice planters have turned to biological methods to control pests, a model for farmers everywhere.

(Feature pic: Rice farmers in Selangor are using environment-friendly means to counter pests | Photo by Maureen Beresford)

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Langur In City Spotlights Efforts To Tackle Wildlife Trade Online

IN OCTOBER 2023, ecologist Izereen Mukri received a phone call and a photo about a “weird monkey” in the urban park near his house called Taman Subang Ria in Selangor.

Izereen glanced at the photo. Greyish black with a long tail – it was a Selangor silvery langur, Trachypithecus selangorensis, a primate species classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. These langurs live in mangroves or by rivers, not in a park surrounded by roads and buildings. 

He went to observe the langur. It was a female that must have felt terribly alone as the species naturally lives in a group. It was not eating its natural diet of shoots, but the apples and bananas left by park visitors. It was also relaxed when humans got close. Izereen, who spoke to Macaranga in his personal capacity, suspects that it used to be someone’s pet.

(Feature image: The lone female Selangor silvery langur found lingering in an urban park in Subang Jaya, Selangor. “It was a beautiful shot. But I rather not have it,” said wildlife photographer Izereen Mukri of this January 2024 photo. | Photo by Izereen Mukri)

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Social Media Makes It So Easy To Like And Buy Exotic Pets

AT 7pm JUST after dinner, Sam* would walk his dog around his neighbourhood block in Petaling Jaya, come home and feed the dog. Then he would either play online video games with his friends or scroll through social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram right before bed. 

And once every few weeks, he adds something to this routine. After feeding his dog he would feed his other pets: a ball python (Python regius), a bearded dragon (Pogona spp.) and a sulcata tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata).

(Feature image: Screenshot of exotic pet content on popular social media platform TikTok.  | Image by Macaranga)

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Nibbling Away at Kota Damansara Forest

Inadequate protection of precious urban forests is shrinking them, warns community researcher and organiser Peter Leong.

TAPAN KUMAR Nath’s recent article in Macaranga, Support community efforts to better manage urban green spaces, shines an important light on the urgent need for community based organisations to gain a role in the governance of urban green spaces (UGS).

A 2019 study which found that KL “lost about 88% of its UGS between 2007 and 2017″ is most alarming – it highlights that the door of meaningful opportunity for these organisations’ impact in UGS governance is closing.

(Feature pic: In the densely built-up Klang Valley, remaining forest patches are precious to local communities | Photo by Dorothy Woon)

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Conserving Arowanas Needs More Than Releasing Fish

The Asian arowana is a fish, a paradox, and an ongoing test of how commercial trade of an endangered animal could help conserve it.  

The fish, once a common food fish for locals from Cambodia to Indonesia, shot to stardom among pet fish enthusiasts and was hunted to rarity in rivers and lakes. But fish breeders learned to rear Asian arowanas in muddy ponds. Every year, hundreds of thousands of farmed Asian arowanas are exported worldwide, many of them from Malaysia.

(Feature image: A golden Asian arowana. | Photo by Eric Chiang/Macaranga)

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Mass Producing to Save Pitcher Plants A Tricky Business

Horticulturists say producing lots of pitcher plants can conserve wild plants. Is it enough though, when ever more new species whet buyers’ appetites?

IN JULY 2023, a Filipino Facebook post appeared advertising the sale of a Malaysian tropical pitcher plant, Nepenthes berbulu. What was on sale were seeds, purportedly harvested on July 15. The thing is, this is a newly discovered species of pitcher plant from Malaysia’s Titiwangsa Mountains.

Its existence was made public a mere 4 months earlier in a scientific publication. The plant’s exact location was not disclosed and specimens were also only supposedly collected for research.

(Feature photo:  Flooding the market with affordable propagated Nepenthes helps reduce pressure on wild plants. | Image: Bryan Yong)

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A Malaysian Environmental Journalism Site

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