WHILE he was undergoing a check-up, marine biologist Dr Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim had a question for his doctor: “Can you observe plastic in the human gut?”
The latter, consultant gastroenterologist Dr Lee Yeong Yeh, said no, but he had also been wondering about this. The two soon started a research project to look into this.
(Photo: What will Malaysian researchers find when they finish looking at the effects of microplastics on the human gut? Credit: Lee Yeong Yeh & Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim; annotated by Macaranga)
Continue reading When Plastic Hits You In the Gut
[ICCB 2019] TWO CORPORATE executives and two conservationists walked into a room. They initially appeared to cross swords. “If we continue with chemical components in our plastic, we will endanger our health,” declared Fabien Cousteau, ocean activist and filmmaker.
But is biodegradable plastic “the magic bullet?” countered Wee Ching Yun, Chairperson, sustainability sub-committee of the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association. “Will it eliminate all the pollution?”
(Photo: How can different segments of society tackle the plastic pollution crisis that is devastating marine wildlife? Credit: SL Wong)
Continue reading Plastic Solutions: It’s Complicated
[ICCB 2019] Gibbon adults in Merapoh, Pahang, are at “fairly good” levels, reveals the latest survey of these small apes. The status of juvenile gibbons however, is still unknown.
That gap in gibbon data causes concern, especially with deforestation in the area, says Adilah Suhailin binti Kamaruzaman, graduate student researcher at Universiti Sains Malaysia and leader of the Merapoh gibbon survey. Adilah presented her findings on 25 July at the International Congress for Conservation Biology, Kuala Lumpur.
(Photo: A Lar gibbon, also called white-handed gibbon, is one of the three species of gibbons found in Peninsular Malaysia. Credit: Gibbon Protection Society Malaysia/Infinim Creative Productions)
Continue reading Gibbons Still Sing In Merapoh
[ICCB 2019] For newly hatched green turtles, life starts in the dark. Nine weeks ago, a turtle’s mother would have climbed onshore, dug a hole 50 cm deep, laid more than a hundred eggs inside, then sealed it with sand. Now, the hatchlings must escape from their buried nest and dash to sea.
But does it matter what type of sand hatchlings have to power through to make it to the surface?
(Photo: A green turtle hatchling peeks from inside its shell. Hatchlings have an attached yolk (red) which they absorb over the course of a week. Credit: Lyvia Chong/SEATRU)
Continue reading How Do Turtles Like Their Sand?
WORDS can punch harder than a fist. Or two. When I was an active researcher, statistics guided my writing. Now, as a journalist, I still collect evidence, but I walk with extra respect and caution.
Five years into this (financially pitiful) career, I’ve learned one thing: A good journalist talks less and listens more. So I do just that. The other way round is bad.
A talk given 23 July at the International Congress for Conservation Biology, Kuala Lumpur, reminded me of the above.
(Photo: Nadine Ruppert presents findings of her SPO Movement survey. Credit: YH Law)
Continue reading Talk Less, Listen More
[ICCB 2019] In Southeast Asia, oil palm expansion threatens biodiversity and the work of conservationists. Knowing where oil palm might go next then, helps inform conservation, says Molly Hennekam, an applied ecologist at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
(Photo: A composite map of Southeast Asia showing Key Biodiversity Areas and areas of potential oil palm expansion. “Suitability” here refers only to ecological factors like climate and soil. Credit: Hennekam, Sarira, Koh)
Continue reading Where Might Oil Palm Go Next?
[ICCB 2019] There were two key facts that turtle expert Juanita Joseph of the Borneo Marine Research Institute wished she had known about the murky waters of Brunei Bay. The first was that hundreds of green turtles fed in the bay; the second was that crocodiles swam in the same water.
Today, the turtles keep drawing Joseph back to the bay, and the crocodiles keep her out of the water — unless necessary.
(Photo: To catch turtles in Brunei Bay, Juanita Joseph used nets called ‘kabat’ to trap turtles at the mouth of estuaries. Joseph learned the method from local fishermen. Credit: Juanita Joseph)
Continue reading In the Murky Waters of Brunei Bay, Turtles Feed
She has electric-blue legs and a creamy toffee body. She’s a spider and she has just been named. But the dubious means by which specimens like her end up in scientists’ hands is cause for alarm, as featured in Science by YH Law, with reporting by Erik Stokstad.
Continue reading Illegal Export of Blue-legged Tarantula Highlights Biopiracy Woes
While Malaysia’s new reform federal government has stated its commitment towards sustainable forest management and policies, working with states can be challenging. This is the second of a two-part look at conservation policy and legislation in Malaysia.
Continue reading Conserving New Malaysia (Part II)
Since the Pakatan Harapan coalition took over government in Malaysia last year, political and economic reforms have dominated headlines. But what is this government doing about conservation? This is the first of a two-part look at conservation policy and legislation in Malaysia.
Continue reading Conserving New Malaysia (Part I)