Tag Archives: biodiversity

Popular Songbird Gets Trade Protection

As regulators tighten international trade of the White-rumped shama, local hunting and captive breeding continue.

“THIS ONE, nine-inch, a Kuala Lumpur champion for more than 5 times,” says Soo Hoo Kok Weng as he points to a bluish-black bird in a cage. The White-rumped shama is popular in bird-singing competitions and Soo Hoo breeds them for this purpose.

But this bird has not sired any chicks after more than a year of pairing. Soo Hoo reckons its previous owner had been feeding it stimulants to win the highly-competitive bird singing competitions. “Its sperm is spoilt,” he says. “That’s the price it has been made to pay.”

But for the species, the price is far higher than that: extinction.

(Photo: Birdkeepers enter their songbirds into competitions for prizes and prestige. Winning competitions also increases the selling price of the bird | Pic by Lee Kwai Han)

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Heath soil is far from basic

Interviewed: Giacomo Sellan, plant scientist (giacomo.sellan@ecofog.gf)

(Photo: Heath forest in Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, Sabah | Pic by Giacomo Sellan)

The Ibans call heath forests “Kerangas”, which means “lands that will not grow rice”. And it is not just rice that could not make it there. 

As one treks from the lush lowland forests into heath forests, the trees change. Tall, thick trees give way to stunted ones with gnarled branches and “gracious” leaves, looking similar to bonsai trees, says plant scientist Giacomo Sellan.

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When Invaders Move In On Batu Caves (And They Have)

From flowering plants to butterflies , invasive species are taking over Batu Caves. This alarming threat to the fragile limestone ecosystem needs addressing.

WE HAD trekked up Batu Caves for about 10 minutes when botanist Dr Ruth Kiew turned to me and asked, “Can you see the difference in the vegetation?”

“Between limestone and non-limestone vegetation, you mean?”

“Yes.”

I scanned the plants before me. This was pre-pandemic times and I had been researching limestone species from lists provided by Kiew.

(Photo: Invasive species threaten plants like the keladi (foreground), discovered only 2 years ago and found only on Batu Caves, says limestone specialist Ruth Kiew. ~ pic by SL Wong)

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What Conservationists Want In Budget 2021

ACCORDING to the Parliamentary schedule, the Malaysian government will table Budget 2021 in the Parliamentary meeting on 6 November. 

The Budget would reflect the government’s plans to carry the country out of the pandemic woes of 2020. 

Malaysians have had a troubled year. Our lives, economy and national policies were derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic and unexpected changes in the Federal government and state governments of Johor, Melaka, Kedah and Sabah

Many conservation groups struggled to keep finances and operations running.

Amidst the turbulence, Malaysians continue to see our environment degrade: pollution of rivers and coasts; clear-felling and degazettement of forest reserves for economic activities; human-elephant conflicts; and poaching. 

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